Interview with Coca-Cola FEMSA’s Corporate Affairs Officer.

Coca-Cola FEMSA’s CAO, José Ramón Martínez, explains main sustainability achievements.

Sustainable sourcing, environmental stewardship, promotion of healthy habits, and strengthening local communities.

What would you say were Coca-Cola FEMSA’s main sustainability achievements during 2018?

During 2018, we made good progress on our sustainability strategy aligned with Coca-Cola FEMSA ́s strategic framework. As you may know, our 2020 goal is to supply 85% of our Mexican manufacturing operations’ energy requirements with clean energy. For the year, we achieved significant progress towards this goal, using clean energy to cover 51.5% of our Mexican manufacturing plants’ energy needs. Moreover, we increased our use of clean energy for our bottling plants in Panama, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina, accomplishing 50% coverage of our total manufacturing operations’ power needs through clean sources of energy.

Importantly, thanks to the collaboration of all of our operations, we surpassed our 2020 goal of benefiting 5 million people through our healthy habits and nutrition programs. Among our noteworthy initiatives, I would like to highlight the contribution of the Latin American Commitment for a Healthy Future regional initiative, together with local initiatives such as Ponte al 100 in Mexico, Praça da Cidadania in Brazil, La hora de Moverse in Central America, and Vive Bailando in Colombia, among others.

This year, we also joined The Coca-Cola Company’s commitment to create a “World Without Waste,” a comprehensive global strategy designed to manage waste in more efficient way by improving the design of our packaging, increasing post-consumption collection, and promoting a culture of recycling in our communities. Aligned with this effort, we signed The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with United Nations Environment.

How would you describe Coca-Cola FEMSA’s integration of its sustainability strategy into its business priorities?

At Coca-Cola FEMSA, we integrate sustainability into our day-to-day operations as a key driver of our business decisions. This enables us to guarantee our company’s long- term development and continuity, foster the wellbeing of our communities, and take care of the environment, fulfilling our mission to simultaneously generate economic, social, and environmental value for all of our stakeholders. Aligned with our integrated sustainability strategy, our strategic framework calls for building a Winning Portfolio that provides consumers choices to satisfy their changing tastes and lifestyles, focuses on moderation, provides clear nutritional information, and advocates responsible marketing.

Through our Operating Model Transformation, we recognize and proactively address the impacts of our operations by means of our comprehensive water management, energy efficiency, waste and recycling, sustainable mobility, safety, community development, and sustainable sourcing strategies. 

Consistent with our Cultural Evolution, we focus on creating a culture that empowers our people to face upcoming challenges, protect human and labor rights, promote inclusion and diversity, and manage and develop tomorrow’s leaders today.

Could you please elaborate on Coca-Cola FEMSA’s commitment to empower consumers to make informed decisions through responsible marketing?

Essential to our company’s DNA, we obsessively focus on providing excellent service to our consumers and clients. Accordingly, transparency, fact-based information, and a high sense of responsibility form the guiding principles for our marketing practices.

Given our company’s position in 10 countries, our nutritional labeling strategy recognizes that each population is different, with its own needs and habits; therefore, we fully endorse and comply with each of our countries’ existing legal framework, as long as this framework clearly provides science-based information to our consumers. When regulatory changes arise, we are always willing to take part in such changes, providing our expertise as a system in order to ensure that our consumers are provided with high-quality information. Additionally, our production processes fulfill the highest standards, and our ingredients comply with each of our operations’ local regulations and with the standards of other regulatory agencies.

Could you please elaborate on how Coca-Cola FEMSA supports The Coca-Cola Company’s “World Without Waste” global initiative?

Since 2002, we have collaborated with other food and beverage companies through ECOCE, a Mexican Civil Association that promotes the collection of waste, the creation of a national market for recycling, and the development of recycling programs. We are leaders in PET bottle-to-bottle recycling in Latin America. In 2005, we joined efforts in Mexico to operate the first Food Grade PET Recycling Plant in Latin America, called IMER (or the Mexican Recycling Industry in English).

Through these ongoing efforts—together with our leadership in the use of recycled resin in our packages and our focus on recyclable packaging—we are pleased to join forces with The Coca-Cola Company through the “World Without Waste” initiative to multiply our impacts across the territories we enjoy the privilege to serve in Latin America for the benefit of our communities and to fulfill our 2030 vision.

What is Coca-Cola FEMSA’s strategic approach to water resource management?

Water is a key resource for our communities and our operations; therefore, we are committed to the efficient use of this natural resource in our bottling operations —returning to the environment and our communities the same amount of water used in our beverages. From 2010 through 2018, we significantly improved our water use ratio by 19% to reach 1.59 liters of water per liter of beverage produced, representing savings or more than 7.25 billion liters. Importantly, we currently give back to the environment more than 100% of the water we use in the production of our beverages in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Central America.

Consistent with our commitment to water replenishment and conservation, in collaboration with the FEMSA Foundation, we carry out projects designed to improve communities’ quality of life by helping to provide them with safe water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education. We further work to strengthen water funds and conserve water basins through sustainable initiatives involving partnerships with several stakeholders. 

Through the Latin American Water Funds Alliance—comprised of the Nature Conservancy, the FEMSA Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the World Environmental Fund—we jointly seek to o er hydrological safety in the region, ensuring sustainable access to a sufficient quantity and quality of water to sustain human life and socioeconomic development.

Since strong communities make for strong businesses, what is Coca-Cola FEMSA’s take on community engagement and development?

To create a community relations vision that we can put it into practice in a standardized and systematic manner, we developed a management model that includes ve sequential steps, which are the foundation of our Model for Addressing Risks and Relations with the Community (MARRCO).

Based on MARRCO, our work centers are designing a community engagement plan to immediately implement a series of measures, including mitigation activities to reduce our operational footprint and community programs aligned with local needs and risks. In turn, this will help us to not only ensure our positive coexistence and our business’ permanence at those locations, but also reaffirm our social license to operate.  

“Thanks to the collaboration of all of our operations, we surpassed our 2020 goal of bene ting 5 million people through our healthy habits and nutrition programs.”

How would you say Coca-Cola FEMSA addressed a challenging, complex social and economic environment this year?

2018 presented complex social and economic challenges in Latin America, triggered by factors such as presidential elections in our Mexican, Brazilian, Colombian, and Costa Rican markets and hyperinflation in Argentina and Venezuela. At Coca-Cola FEMSA, we have full confidence in the region in which we have grown for more than 25 years. Underscoring our commitment to the region, we invested over US$420 million to acquire The Coca-Cola Company’s ABASA and Los Volcanes franchises in Guatemala and MONRESA franchise in Uruguay.
We are firmly committed to serve our markets with excellence and to grow our operations. We are prepared better than ever to face these challenging environments powered by our drive to innovate, winning product portfolio, superior point-of-sale execution, unparalleled distribution network, unmatched cold drink equipment placement, and demand-driven KOFmercial Digital Platform built on advanced analytics.

“We are leaders in PET bottle- to-bottle recycling in Latin America. Together with our leadership in the use of recycled resin in our packages and focus on recyclability we are pleased to join forces with the Coca-Cola Company to multiply our impacts.”

You may also want to read:

Our clarity, consistency and commitment set us apart. Integrated Report 2018.
For our Dear Fellow Stakeholders; Letter from our Chairman of the Board and our CEO.
Meet the Capitals; Company Engagement of Coca-Cola FEMSA.

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