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Cola Wars Go Green

June 14, 2007

Maybe you’ve recently tried to calculate your own carbon footbprint, or have been more in tune with the environment.  It’s hard not to be the way gasoline & CO2 have been glistening in the green spot light.  We all know about the rapid depletion of this precious non-renewable resource, but while our attention has been focused on gas we’ve neglected other resources that are equally strained.  Our perspective about being environmentally conscious is about to rapidly change again thanks to two main players in the beverage market.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi are contenders again, but this time it’s a race to quench our thirst for non-renewable resources.  Both companies have jumped on the corporate social responsibility band wagon with a few of their own green initiatives.
Coca-Cola was originally green.  No, it has always been brown; Snopes put an end to that myth.  It may, however, have to amend its fact page now that Coke has become so environmentally responsible.  Coke is taking some big strides.  It recently released the Coca-Cola Water Conservation Plan in an attempt to conserve water by replacing the 75 billion gallons of water it uses in the production of its beverages.  It is one part of an efficient water management plan that will help restore its image.  This comes after Coke was slammed for depleting and polluting water supplies in China and India.  Now it’s seeking to create its beverages without destroying the surrounding environment or “de-hydrating the world.”  It may not come as a surprise to some, but a recent article by Canadian experts warned that within 3 years Sydney’s water supply could be the first to be limited to drinking purposes only.  Mexico and Bejiing are noted as the other two cities in a triad of countries that are most threatened by the global freshwater crisis.  It seems Coke is leading the way in recognizing impactful ways they can approach the green arena and help resolve these issues.  They are partnering with third party companies to recycle their bottle labels, produce bottle cap purses and are upgrading their headquarters to run more efficiently.
Pepsi upped the ante and is now leading a different, and possibly more powerful environmental front.  They have attracted great attention with their recent announcement of their own green initiatives.  They are purchasing 1 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy, enough to power 90,000 American homes for a year; an amount that offsets 100% of its electricity with renewable energy.  This is a big deal.  They are the first to take this sizable of a leap and it will be interesting to see how they leverage this expense as a marketing tool.  Like Coke, Pepsi has also taken a creative approach with the release of aluminum can Green Label Art.

These two Cola companies have taken green to the next level and set a precedent for other companies to change the fundamentals of how they are running their business.  As green initiatives become more of a standard practice, not adopting new practices and technologies is going to create image problems for companies who aren’t on board the green train.

Posted by ken fisher

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