Coca-Cola Honored by Fortune 500 Peers

Coca-Cola won an important sustainability award this week from its peers.

It was awarded by the Corporate Eco Forum (CEF), an invitation-only organization for Fortune 500 companies that demonstrate a serious commitment to sustainability as a strategic business issue.

CEF awarded Coke and its CEO, Muhtar Kent, the C.K. Prahalad Award for Global Sustainability Leadership.

The Prahalad Award was created to honor the vision and life’s work of the late Dr. C.K. Prahalad, who helped popularize the notion that companies could "do well by doing good."

The award honors Coca-Cola and Kent for international leadership on critical global environmental issues and comprehensive efforts to embed sustainability into core business strategy.

Coke’s CEO co-chairs the Consumer Goods Forum, a powerful group of 450 major manufacturers and retailers. In 2010, the group committed to begin phasing out HFC refrigerants beginning in 2015 and to strive for zero net deforestation by 2020 in the procurement of palm oil, soy, beef, and paper products.

The Coca-Cola Company has also been working since 2007 in a transformational partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to address the increasingly severe global water crisis -aiming to conserve seven of the world’s most important river basins and to inspire a global movement focused on water conservation.

Coca-Cola has further set a goal to return to nature and communities an amount of water equivalent to what is used in all of its products and their production by 2020.

In 2010, Coca-Cola also announced a new 10-year global initiative to empower five million women through the Coca-Cola system. Mr. Kent issued the challenge to the company, and committed to entering into dialogue with its associates, civil society and governments to identify how best to reach this goal through partnerships.

Coca-Cola has also demonstrated a commitment to embedding sustainability into core business strategy. Among its notable actions, the company has invested over $60 million during the past decade in research, development and production capacity to advance the use of climate-friendly, HFC-free cooling technologies and is phasing out the use of HFC refrigerants in all new cooling equipment as of 2015.

It also developed in 2009 the innovative PlantBottle – the first fully recyclable PET plastic beverage bottle made partially from plants, moving the company closer to its vision to eventually introduce bottles made with materials that are 100% recyclable and renewable. Coca-Cola’s goal is to use PlantBottle material for all plastic bottles by 2020.

The Prahalad Award was presented to Coca-Cola by Yvo De Boer, an internationally renowned leader on climate change who served as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from September  2006 to July 2010.

Over 200 senior executives from companies representing 18 industries with combined revenues of over $3 trillion came together at the Corporate Eco Forum’s 4th Annual Meeting. They focused on defining "next practice" in corporate sustainability during two days of discussions and working sessions.

CEF’s 19-member advisory board voted for the recipient of the Prahalad Award. The board includes representatives from government, academia, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

In 2007, Coke was taken to task for its water management practices, particularly in India. Two bottling plants were shut down when the company was blamed for causing local water shortages because of its huge demand for water.

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