Coca-Cola At It Again...In a Good Way

Image: Coca-Cola Company

In more news from Coca-Cola, (a follow-up to my Tuesday blog post about Coca-Cola switching to 30% plant-based plastic PET bottles), the company and its bottling partners today announced that by 2015, every one of their new vending machines and coolers will be free of hydroflourocarbon (HFC)—a direct result of nearly a decade of work with Greenpeace. (Side note, the Greenpeace-Coke partnership started when the independent global campaigning organization challenged the drink company to go HFC-free for the 2000 Sydney Olympics; Coke succeeded for the 2006 Torino and 2008 Beijing games).

The vending-machine switch will cut the equipment’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 99%, according to a Coke press release; if the whole refrigeration industry followed suit, the move could reduce annual GHG emissions equal to what Japan or Germany emits yearly.

Coke has much at stake here, and not just in reputation—the company has so far invested upwards of $50 million on

Image: Coca-Cola Company

research to develop what it calls “climate-friendly cooling technologies.” And, it has 10 million coolers and vending machines worldwide, making this aspect of Coca-Cola’s process the largest single environmental factor.

The timing is interesting, with climate talks in Copenhagen a mere five days away. Nonetheless, it’s heartening to see a company as large as Coca-Cola, with 500 brands sold in more than 200 countries, making any environmental effort, especially with a partner like Greenpeace (which, by the way, developed the environmentally friendly GreenFreeze alternative to HFCs now used in 350 million refrigeration units).

Why do you think Coke is making the environmental push?

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