A global business like Coca-Cola has no choice but to be resilient.
People enjoy our products in more than 200 countries - and in
some corner of the world there is always an external disruption
that can have bearing on our business. It is what we call doing business in
a "reset world." For a company like Coca-Cola to be resilient in the "reset
world," we have to keep a close watch on new consumer attitudes; the
role of government in economic and commercial affairs; and geopolitical,
economic and demographic shifts.
Building a resilient company, organization or community in 2013 requires
nothing short of complete and absolute focus. I am a ﬁrm believer that
challenging times like these are not an excuse to sit back and ride out the
On the contrary, this is the time to confront our current reality head-on,
with courage, with tireless determination and with great strategic dexterity.
This is exactly the time to focus on what matters most, shed what is
wasteful and unproductive, and keep communicating with our customers
History has shown us, time and again, that the world's most resilient
organizations are those that do more than just prepare for change and
turbulence. Instead, they see -- and seize -- opportunity in the eye of the storm.
At Coca-Cola, our 2020 Vision and Roadmap for Winning Together is an
integral component of our resiliency. It is a system-wide plan to double the
size of our business over the course of this decade. To reach this ambitious
but achievable goal, we have built resilience into the suppliers, retailers,
technologies, people and infrastructure that bring our beverages to market
every day around the world. Sustainability is a critical factor in driving our
vision and creating resiliency across our system.
Indeed, we think the lion's share of innovation over the next decade will reside
at the intersections of sustainability and the supply chain. How do we do
more with less? How do we prosper and grow in an era of natural resource
scarcity? We have developed many sustainability-minded innovations that
are centered on reducing our packaging, energy and water footprint and
improving the wellbeing of the communities we serve.
Our supply- and value-chain partners are critical to building resilience. One
value-chain innovation we are hard at work on is our effort to empower 5 million
women entrepreneurs by 2020. In this effort, called 5by20, we are working
with UN Women and numerous government and private sector partners on
four continents to bring new resources, tools, ideas and inspiration to women
business owners who are part of our Coca-Cola system value chain.
We are also building resilience through our water stewardship efforts.
Since 2005, as part of our goal to become water neutral by 2020, we have
conducted 386 community water projects in 94 countries, working hand in
hand with local governments and partners including World Wildlife Fund
(WWF), the United States Agency for International Development, The Nature
Conservancy and CARE.
We have also entered into a long-term global clean water partnership with
world renowned innovator Dean Kamen of DEKA R&D to bring Kamen's
revolutionary Slingshot water puriﬁcation technology to communities
where potable water access is limited. The Slingshot system uses a vapor
compression distillation system that runs on low levels of electricity so that
any dirty water source -- river water, ocean water and even raw sewage -
can be turned into pure, clean drinking water. One Slingshot unit can purify
enough daily drinking water for roughly 300 people, while consuming less
than the amount of power needed to run a standard handheld hair dryer.
This year, we will install and operate 100 Slingshot units in schools and health
centers in Africa and Latin America.
Longer term, we plan to marry the Slingshot technology and our 5by20
commitment to deliver a full-service community center. The EKOCENTER
will house the Slingshot water puriﬁcation system as well as deliver other
basic necessities and products such as electricity, internet access and
vaccination storage, to communities in need. Each EKOCENTER will enable
communities to have services that otherwise would not be available - all
within one location - and be operated by local female entrepreneurs. We
see this initiative as an investment in the future prosperity and progress of
the communities in which we operate.
Also, in a move that builds resiliency, over the last decade we have invested
more than $100 million in the development of highly efﬁcient, HFC-free
cooling technologies, including, most recently, solar-powered coolers in
places such as rural India.
Although we have these great stories to share today, our journey is far
from complete. The truth is, it will never be complete. The multinational
corporation will always have a role to play in driving sustainable economic
With unyielding determination, a restless culture of innovation, and
continued work with many powerful partners, it is our hope that The
Coca-Cola Company can continue to be a strong and enduring force for
progressive growth and positive change for generations to come.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and The Rockefeller Foundation on resilience, a topic being discussed at the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos. To see all the posts in the series, click here.