Axel Bachmann has been working for Coca-Cola in Germany for 25 years and has been responsible for sustainability for ten years. The topic of "climate change" is currently at the top of the agenda. The manager explains in an interview what goals the company has set itself and what role suppliers and customers play.
When people talk about the Corona pandemic, they very quickly turn to the topic of climate change. What does one have to do with the other and why are people now even more aware of it?
Axel Bachmann: The two topics are directly linked. The Corona pandemic has shown us all how vulnerable global supply chains are and, at the same time, what role the topic of "biodiversity" plays. Hot spells in summer are felt by everyone and have a negative impact on all our lives - business and personal. It is no longer an expert topic, but has become "tangible" for all of us.
What does that mean for companies like Coca-Cola - both in Germany and in Europe?
We have been committed to the issue of sustainability for many years - this is nothing new for us. Nevertheless, it is now time to become even more ambitious. At the end of 2020, we at Coca-Cola European Partners in Western Europe committed to becoming climate neutral by 2040. This makes us even more ambitious than the Paris Climate Agreement's 2050 target.
These are the goals: How do you measure results?
First, we have set ourselves the milestone of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by a further 30 percent by 2030. We can only achieve this if we integrate the issue of climate into all our business activities. To this end, we are investing around 250 million euros over the next three years. Above all, we need to tackle the issue together with our partners - with our suppliers, for example. Only a small proportion of emissions, around 10 percent, are produced under our own roof - in our core business. We look at our entire value chain: We enter into dialogue with suppliers. We encourage them to use green electricity just as we do and to share theirCO2 reduction targets and measures with us. And to ensure comparability, we have aligned our targets with the Science Based Target Initiative. We are also tackling the issue together with our customers in the retail and catering sectors.
Maybe we can be a little more specific and stay in Germany: What is the company doing here specifically to support the achievement of the goal?
Perhaps two current, concrete examples from the areas of mobility and transport: We are converting our entire company car fleet to e-mobility with immediate effect until 2024. Whenever a new vehicle is purchased in Germany, it will be an e-car. In addition, we are increasingly shifting our transport logistics to rail. By 2020, we will have already saved more than 1 million truck kilometres on the roads. Another important component is the topic of green electricity: In 2015, we switched to 100 percent green electricity at Coca-Cola in Germany. This topic will also be increasingly included in the dialogue with our customers. After all, we all have the same goal: to stop climate change.