Sustainability as a target in business partnerships

Coca-Cola European Partners believes that using resources responsibly is just as important as price, quality and service. For over ten years now, one of the world’s largest bottling companies for The Coca-Cola Company, has made sustainable business and corporate responsibility a top priority. This has led to changes in the way the company manages its supply chain, as Milou Hamelers, a senior procurement manager at CRS, explains, “Sustainability is essential for us if we want to continue to grow our business.” The principle also extends to its company partners, such as Linde Material Handling, which must undergo rigorous checks.

The assessments are executed by providers such as EcoVadis, which use scorecards to evaluate companies in four categories: environment, labor practices, fair business practices and sustainable procurement. Coca-Cola European Partners will not do business with suppliers that perform poorly.

“Sustainability is firmly embedded in various levels of the procurement process and in our supply chain,” says Milou Hamelers. “It covers everything from the selection process for new suppliers and how our suppliers comply with our 'Supplier Guiding Principles', to our supplier relationship management process, where primary partners are evaluated annually based on the five criteria. One of them is sustainability.”

"We are seeing a clear trend where sustainability is becoming increasingly important to our customers."

Holger Hoppe

Head of Sustainability Management, KION Group

Focus on CO2 emissions and fuel consumption

Holger Hoppe, who is responsible for sustainability management at the KION Group, is very familiar with these requirements: “We are seeing a clear trend in which sustainability is becoming far more important to our customers. It is now the norm for many big-ticket customers to incorporate Linde in their internal sustainability targets. Coca-Cola is a prime example of this.”

In the Paris suburb of Grigny, one of over 50 production facilities in Europe, Coca-Cola European Partners was impressed by the balanced product range that Linde offers, as Senior Procurement Manager Janos Kis explains: “Linde’s industrial trucks contribute to Coca-Cola’s carbon footprint and are therefore particularly important for the company.” Factors such as low CO2 emissions, low fuel consumption and good ergonomic design are paramount. Kis says that ergonomics is an important consideration for Coca-Cola because the well-being of company employees is a key sustainability target.

For Hoppe, it is clear that sustainability offers benefits both for KION Group and its customers. “Satisfied employees have a higher level of motivation and are less frequently absent. More efficient trucks require less fuel and are friendlier for the environment,” he notes, adding,“which is why taking responsibility is a core aspect of our company’s sustainability strategy. We take responsibility for customers by offering them customized solutions that make them more successful, and we take responsibility for our own growth and for the growth of society.”

Thus, KION Group is focusing on a wide spectrum of action areas within sustainability management. They cover everything from the individual’s role as a good employee to environmental and climate protection, product responsibility and innovative customer solutions. Customers and suppliers play a particularly important role in the sustainability strategy, and KION plans to establish close work relationships on a basis of trust.

"Sustainability is essential for us if we want to continue to grow our business."

Milou Hamelers

Senior Manager Direct Procurement, Coca-Cola European Partners

Partners share long-term goals

Coca-Cola European Partners welcomes this approach and is committed to a long-term strategic partnership with Linde. Senior Procurement Manager Janos Kis knows he can count on the continued support of Linde in achieving the company’s sustainability targets for 2020. And these are ambitious targets, despite Coca-Cola European Partners having achieved already a great deal since 2007: it has improved its energy efficiency by more than 18 per cent, cut its water consumption by almost 20 per cent and reduced the carbon footprint of their core business operations by 40 per cent.

But the company does not believe that it has reached its goal just yet. It plans to increase energy efficiency further and shrink its carbon footprint by another 10 per cent. Coca-Cola European Partners wants to be a trailblazer in the beverage industry as far as energy consumption, sustainable packaging and recycling are concerned.

Hamelers is certain that if Linde and Coca-Cola European Partners continue to work closely together and invest in sustainability, both companies will benefit. Not only will the impact of production on the environment reduce even further, but both companies will continue to grow and build on their market position over the longer term, thanks to the efforts they are taking in the development of innovative sustainable products and a focus on continuous improvement.


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