How Coca-Cola Sustainably Sources Beet Sugar in Europe
By: Journey Staff | Apr 9, 2018
Agricultural ingredients are the soul of our products at The Coca-Cola Company. With global reach in more than 200 countries, we have an opportunity and responsibility to positively contribute to more sustainable agriculture practices worldwide.
In 2013, we set a goal to more sustainably source our priority ingredients by 2020. For us, "sustainably sourced" means that farmers in our supply chain have a viable business and meet certain standards, including human and workplace rights, environmental protection, and responsible farming management. These fundamental values are described in our Sustainable Agriculture Guiding Principles (SAGP).
Advancing towards this goal is reliant on effective and reliable partnerships with our suppliers who integrate sustainability into their business. An example of such a partnership is German-based Nordzucker Group, which supplies Coca-Cola in Europe with locally sourced beet sugar.
In the seven European countries where Nordzucker produces beet sugar, close to 15,000 farmers will typically grow around 250,000 hectares of beet sugar in close proximity to the sugar factory -- making sustainable farming a high priority for Nordzucker. In addition, beet farmers typically rotate their crops, so sustainable farming practices on a beet farm will benefit many other crops, such as wheat, corn or barley.
Earlier this year, the group achieved a major milestone towards sustainable beet sugar production by becoming third party verified against the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) Silver level through the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI). SAI is a global initiative to promote the development of sustainable agriculture practices across the food and drink supply chain. The FSA Silver is fully aligned with Coca-Cola’s SAGP guidance.
After initial roadmap conversations with The Coca-Cola Company procurement team and our bottlers, Coca-Cola European Partners and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, the five year journey to certification began when the SAI FSA framework was still in progress. This allowed Nordzucker to contribute to the FSA development which is a simple, highly effective tool to assess, improve and communicate on-farm sustainability.
"Reaching our goal to have our growers verified at least on the silver level according to the SAI standard is a big achievement and a vital part of our overall sustainability strategy," said Iver Drabaek, head of sustainability, Nordzucker Group.
“The Coca-Cola Company shares and champions our belief in the importance of sustainable agriculture, and thanks to our partnership we can now share EU certified sugar with the rest of the Coca-Cola System,” Volker Diehl, head of industrial dales, Nordzucker Group and global account manager to The Coca-ColaCompany said.
Now Nordzucker is focused on further developing the SAI standard to make it more efficient for the farmer as we all depend on are dedicated, hardworking people behind the agricultural ingredients.
“Nordzucker is a key supply partner, supplying sugar to the Coca-Cola system across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Their adoption and progress towards meeting the SAI standards -- now in all countries where they operate - has been outstanding,” said Matt Swindall, senior global procurement director of sweeteners, The Coca-Cola Company. “Well done to the Nordzucker team in reaching this incredible milestone.”
As we are sourcing our ingredients across the world, The Coca-Cola Company strives to create economic opportunities for all our supply chain partners, including women and smallholder farmers, and help to protect the land rights of local communities where we operate.
“A healthy agricultural supply chain is essential to the well-being of communities, economies and the environment,” said Ulrike Sapiro, senior director, Water Stewardship & Agriculture, The Coca-Cola Company. “Nordzucker has really stepped up to the challenge of helping us build a sustainably sourced supply chain. Our suppliers’ collaboration has been and always will be critical to our program’s success.”
Learn more about The Coca-Cola Company’s Sustainable Agriculture program.