News & Events

Tuesday 08 December, 2015

Mitigating climate change won’t be easy, or fast, but it’s within our grasp

If you’ve read a newspaper or watched TV this week, I won’t need to remind you that the 21st UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) is taking place in Paris. It was the first time ever that so many world leaders gathered under one roof at the same time.  That’s no surprise, because it’s arguably the most important global political event so far this decade. The aim of the conference is to achieve a global agreement to keep global temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.  This is the culmination of over six years of international negotiations. It won’t be easy. It won’t be quick. Not everyone will like the result. But it’s possible.

At Coca-Cola Enterprises, we’re watching developments closely. We believe that urgent action must be taken to tackle climate change – it’s one of the most significant material risks for our business. Gradual rises in global temperatures, due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, are linked to changing weather patterns and extreme weather conditions around the world – both of which could have adverse impacts on our manufacturing operations, our supply chains and our distribution network. Tackling climate change is also the right thing to do for our planet and the economic opportunity linked to decarbonisation and green growth is substantial.

So we can’t just sits on the sidelines and wait. Agreement at COP21 will be just one aspect of the global consolidated action required to mitigate climate change. Action will be needed from national, local and regional government and businesses – acting separately and together. That’s why we set a commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of our core business operations by 50 percent by 2020, which has been externally recognised as fully aligned with climate science. We also continue to play an active role in the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, which aims to advocate for solutions on climate change to policy makers and business leaders around the world.

As the use of renewable energy is also critical to this transition and to a low-carbon economy in the future, we’ve decided to join the RE100 initiative and sign up to a new commitment to source 100% of our electricity from renewable sources.

It’s also why we decided that climate change should be the theme for the third roundtable in our Rethinking Business event series in partnership with the Financial Times, which will take place tonight, Tuesday 8th December.  We’ll be welcoming a group of senior business people and policy influencers to discuss how we can ensure collaborative efforts against climate change continue beyond COP21 and well into the future. With a range of participants from organisations like the UN Global Compact, European Parliament, Unilever, EDF, Kellogg Company and The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, the roundtable is an opportunity to have an honest discussion about the role we all need to play and how we can work better together.

Ultimately, climate change poses risks and opportunities to many large businesses. It is in the best interest of the business community to take an active and leading role in deploying low-carbon technologies, increasing energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and helping society to adapt to changes in the climate that are now unavoidable.

I would like to add my voice to those calling for a clear, fair and time-bound outcome from the COP21 political negotiations. It’s within our grasp and we are in the final few yards. I also want to urge large businesses around the world to consider what they can do to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Let’s hope that COP21 sets out the roadmap to help us do exactly that.

Hubert Patricot

European President, Coca-Cola Enterprises

Since 2012, Hubert has been part of the leadership group of the Prince of Wales’s EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change.

Hubert is an experienced commercial leader with more than 20 years of international experience in the Coca-Cola system. He joined The Coca-Cola Company in France in 1986 as Brand Manager and later became Marketing Director. Between 1993 and 2003 he held several management positions within Coca-Cola Beverages, the French bottling company, later acquired by Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE). He was appointed General Manager and Vice President of CCE France in 2003. In 2007, Hubert moved to CCE Great Britain as General Manager and Vice President, a position he held until assuming his current role in July 2008.

Hubert began his career in 1983 as a Market Research Manager for Nestlé. He holds an MBA from ESSEC Business School in France.

Hubert resides in both London and Paris. He is married with two sons. In his free time, he enjoys cinema and is an active sports enthusiast.

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