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Coca-Cola Goes Green for the Olympics
February 2, 2010 – The Coca-Cola Company makes its biggest statement of the year with carbon-neutral sponsorship of the Olympic Games in Vancouver. Through a zero-waste effort that has been in the works since 2006, Coca-Cola will provide 1500 eKOfresh coolers, salvaged wood furniture, Drink2Wear Uniforms, and products that are delivered via hybrid and electric vehicles.
Thierry Borra, Coca-Cola’s Director of Olympic Games Management, understands that sustainability is not only important to consumers, but also expected at large-scale events such as the Olympics. As a result, the company has changed the perception of its brand from providing simple recycling programs at the 2000 games to becoming one of the first major marketers to be a carbon-neutral sponsor.
Taking over three years of consulting, Coca-Cola’s carbon-neutral sponsorship was planned with WWF-Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, and an external agency that helped determine Coke’s carbon footprint, allowing the company to purchase carbon offsets for air travel and on-site transportation. They will also bring in an external auditor to evaluate the sponsorship once the games have concluded.
Changing its brand perception at this year’s Olympics did not come without risk, supplier feasibility setbacks, and scrutinizing expectations, but Coca-Cola does have credibility with its public policy positions and is more than likely to deliver. Mr. Borra believes Coca-Cola will reach its goals, but urges NGO partners and stakeholders to be patient with their progress while pioneering new processes and technologies.
For now, Coca-Cola remains at the forefront of sustainable marketing and brands and was one of the first sponsors to be awarded the “Sustainability Star” by the Vancouver Organizing Committee.