Coca-Cola Joins the Development Dialogue at #EDD18

Women’s economic empowerment was firmly in the Brussels spotlight recently during the 12th European Development Days, an annual event hosted by the European Commission which brings together the global development community to inspire partnerships and identify innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

The Coca-Cola Company was honored to again participate at the event and represent the private sector in a theme that focused on the critical topic of “Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development”. Coca-Cola leaders were able to share their own experiences including those gained through the company’s flagship 5by20 program that aims to help economically empower more than 5 million women worldwide by 2020.  To date, more than 2.4 million women in more than 75 countries have already participated in the program, including more than a million women in Africa alone.

During the event Bea Perez, SVP and Chief Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Officer for The Coca-Cola was invited to speak at a high-level panel debate focused on ‘empowering women in sustainable investment and business’, alongside leaders from organizations including the World Bank, The Global Fund, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Investment Bank (EIB) and government representatives.

The discussion provided a valuable and insightful platform to consider the importance of public-private partnerships, and the complementary contributions that can be made from organizations in public and private sector as well as across civil society.  This partnership model is firmly rooted in the majority of Coca-Cola’s sustainability initiatives focused on its priority areas of women, water and waste.  It is also highlighted at a critical enabler within the European Commission’s new External Investment Plan that focuses on leveraging expertise, understanding, skills and investment through ‘golden triangle’ partnerships.

Angie Rozas, TCCC Strategic Project Director, Women’s Economic Empowerment, also participated in a debate focused on how women entrepreneurs are spearheading implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Angie discussed the progress being made within our global 5by20 initiative, and talked through the outcomes of a recent Georgetown University study into the Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE) Program in Nigeria, which is helping transform the lives of more than 21,000 young women in Nigeria.

In the build-up to the EDDs, Bea Perez also shared some perspectives on the importance of development and sustainability in a Q&A that first appeared in POLITICO Europe.