The third strategic priority in our sustainability plan is “Innovate for the Future”. We want to find opportunities for innovation, collaboration and partnership which help us to address some of the business, industry and societal challenges that we face as a corporate citizen. 

In our sustainability plan we have set stretching targets in both our environmental and our social focus areas. To meet these by 2020, we will need innovation. Our stakeholders also have high expectations of us, as a responsible corporate citizen, to contribute to finding solutions to the wider societal challenges that arise where our business touches the world and the world touches our business. 

illustration of coca-cola-enterprises

Our Innovation Strategy

Over the past year we have developed an innovation ‘framework’ based on our the key points in our value chain where we, as a manufacturer and distributor of Coca-Cola products, can help to try and answer some of the big questions which will be crucial not only to our own business but also to the future of the planet in the long term.

We have determined three types of innovation to focus where we believe we have the most to contribute.

  • Process innovation  - Driving efficiencies in our business
  • Thought leadership - Developing our understanding of and solutions to new issues and challenges
  • Collaboration - with suppliers and customers to find opportunities to co-create new solutions to existing challenges.

Over the past few years, CCE has already contributed technologies and ways of working in each of these three areas, and we want to do more.

illustration of coca-cola industry

Process Innovation

We continually innovate within our own systems and processes to drive efficiency and effectiveness.

For example, we have installed equipment such as monitoring and targeting systems which save energy and water on our production lines and link to SAP for real-time monitoring. We encourage our employees to share their ideas for innovations with us via our ICON Awards and we have introduced new plant-based packaging through technologies such as PlantBottle across our territories.

illustration of innovation within society

Thought Leadership

We are working to become thought leaders in recycling. In developing our sustainability plan we identified that 47% of the carbon footprint of our products is embedded in the packaging. This proportion can be significantly reduced if the packaging is recycled. As a result, if we’re to deliver on our commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of the drink in your hand by a third by 2020, our first innovation focus has to be on step-changing recycling in our markets.

Further data also indicates that over 70% of our packages tend to be recycled in the home, not on-the-go as we previously thought. As a result, in 2012, we launched our first thought leadership project on recycling behaviour, in parnership with the University of Exeter (UK). The research will begin in 2013, investigating how recycling is influenced by the dynamics of the household. Click here for further information.  

This work will build on the project we undertook in 2011 with the Carbon Trust, in which we examined the concept of ‘Personal Carbon Allowances’ and how these could be measured and implemented. 


We know that innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum and that we need to work with a wide range of partners – from NGOs to our suppliers and customers - to drive new ways of thinking and working.

In 2012 we launched a second plastics reprocessing joint venture, following the success of our partnership with ECOPlastics in Lincolnshire in 2011. In partnership with our PET Supplier, APPE, we have launched a similar venture which will significantly increase the availability of recycled plastic in France.

In 2012 we also held our third Supplier Sustainability Summit for our top 60 suppliers, and focused on ways in which we can deliver, lead and innovate together.

In 2013 we plan to expand this Summit to include stakeholders from across our value chain and focus on some of the societal challenges we face, to encourage us to develop new creative ways of working together. 

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