THE Global Recycling Day commemorated worldwide yesterday, has offered unique chance to think anew about how to advance the prosperity of Africa by growing economies inclusively, while reducing the impact of packaging waste on the environment.
Coca-Cola Chief Executive Officer and Chairman James Quincey said Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) has made its ambitious recycling targets a top business priority, alongside key performance metrics for growth and profitability.
“We measure our business success not only according to growth and profits, but also by doing business the right way - following our values and working toward solutions that benefit not only us all but also future generations.
Profitability is important, but not at any cost. We don’t believe there’s another way of doing business the right way,” he said.
Along with its devastating human and economic costs, the Covid-19 pandemic has put renewed focus on sustainability.
The experience of mass human vulnerability to the accidents of nature has reminded us of the need to live in harmony with the natural environment if we are to survive as species.
“Covid-19 has highlighted the urgent need for collaborative, cross-sector solutions to climate change, plastic waste and other critical environmental and social issues,” Mr Quincey said adding: “The crisis has shone a light on the interconnected nature of our world and the lessons to learn must be applied to help us emerge stronger and get to a more sustainable and inclusive economic future.”
The company’s commitment is to invest in the planet and packaging, to help make the world’s packaging problem a thing of the past.
The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners are leading the industry with a bold, ambitious goal “to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030”.
“We want to support local governments’ waste management objectives by making recycling more accessible and to achieve 100 per cent collection and recycling by 2030,” he said.
In addition, as a system their goals include to make their entire consumer packaging 100 per cent recyclable globally by 2025 and use at least 50 per cent recycled material in our packaging by 2030.
Holistic solutions to challenges like packaging waste require partnerships, and it is important that we work together to ensure transformation, inclusion and sustainability of the circular economy across the continent.
For their part, Mr Quincey said governments can contribute by creating an enabling regulatory environment to help stimulate sustainable practices.
Regulators also play a crucial role in facilitating public-private partnerships, setting packaging standards and driving policies that encourage the circular economy to thrive for greater economic inclusion of people.
However, for it to be implemented successfully requires high levels of collaboration.
“We believe that the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is the most efficient means to support the circular economy,” he said.
Paying EPR fees and striving to increasingly use recycled plastic, even if it costs more than virgin plastic, ultimately enables the circular economy.
PETCO is a great example – this model was initiated in South Africa in 2004 as an industry-led initiative for collection and recycling of PET bottles. It has since been established in Kenya and Ethiopia.
In Tanzania, apart from facilitating recycling of more PET bottles than sold in the market in 2020, Coca-Cola Kwanza, our subsidiary operating in the country has also partnered with other soft drink producers in registering a local PET Recycle Company (T) Limited (PETCO Tanzania), which will be launched soon.