The Coca-Cola Co. this morning announced four global business commitments to further contribute to healthier, happier and more active communities. These commitments, which apply to the more than 200 countries where the Atlanta-based company does business, include:
• Offering low- or no-calorie beverage options in every market;
• Providing transparent nutrition information, featuring calories on the front of all packages;
• Helping get people moving by supporting physical activity programs in every country where the company does business; and
• Marketing responsibly, including no advertising to children under age 12 anywhere in the world.
“Obesity is today’s most challenging health issue, affecting nearly every family and community across the globe. It is a global societal problem, which will take all of us working together and doing our part,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO The Coca-Cola Co. “We are committed to being part of the solution, working closely with partners from business, government and civil society. Today’s announcement is another step forward on our journey, as we take action with scale and reach across every country and continent where we operate.”
Kent made the global announcement today in commemoration of the 127th anniversary of Coca-Cola. He was joined by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to kick off a series of programs designed to help get Georgians moving (see below). Today’s announcement in Georgia builds on recent partnerships the company has undertaken in Chicago, London, San Antonio and other cities.
Already, The Coca-Cola Co. has taken a number of steps, including product and packaging innovations like smaller portion sizes with its expansion of mini-cans in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Korea and Thailand. The Coca-Cola system currently supports hundreds of active, healthy living programs in more than 115 countries reaching millions of people, and is putting calories on the front of its beverages worldwide.
In addition, the company has committed to publicly and actively measure the scale and reach of its efforts on www.comingtogether.com. The digital platform provides further details about the company’s global commitments and invites people to learn more about what the company is doing, track its progress, post feedback and exchange ideas on how it can collectively promote choice, energy balance and movement.
The Coca-Cola Co. currently sells non-alcoholic beverages in nearly every beverage category—from sparkling beverages to water, enhanced and flavored water beverages, tea, coffee, juice and juice drinks, sports beverages and energy drinks. The portfolio includes nearly 800 low- and no-calorie beverages, representing 25 percent of the global portfolio.
At home in Georgia
To ignite The Coca-Cola Co.’s global commitment to fight the obesity epidemic, The Coca-Cola Foundation announced grants to organizations across the company’s home state of Georgia. These grants will provide increased access to community-oriented physical activity and nutrition education programs.
“Together with Gov. Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed, we are inspiring our hometown of Atlanta and home state of Georgia to be active,” said Kent. “Golden triangle efforts like these and others in Colorado, Chicago and San Antonio amplify the active role we must all take in helping to tackle the complex issue of obesity. We can only succeed with the collaboration of local governments, community leaders and other willing partners.”
The foundation has pledged $3.8 million to support statewide initiatives to help get people active and enjoy a balanced lifestyle, including Georgia SHAPE and Walk Georgia initiatives. Georgia SHAPE, Gov. Deal’s strategy to address childhood obesity, is using the additional funding to increase the time children are active before, during and after school. The program also will include nutrition education curricula for Georgia schools.
Walk Georgia was created by The University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension Service. This initiative focuses on community-oriented physical activity programs customized by community members. Participants can engage in a variety of activities such as dancing, cycling and gardening and convert those actions into steps. Those steps are converted into miles. As participants accumulate miles, they virtually move across a map of the state, viewing fun facts about each county visited and learning new ways to improve health.
“One of our strategic goals for the state is to reduce childhood obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles through preventive care, disease care and early intervention,” said Deal. “Working with Coca-Cola and others to strengthen programs such as Georgia SHAPE and Walk Georgia gives Georgians of all ages and abilities more opportunities to become physically active.”
A $1 million grant to the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta supports the City of Atlanta’s Centers of Hope program. The program, which also serves at-risk youth, brings physical activity, leadership development, nutrition education and academic enrichment to nearly 2,000 young Atlantans. Through the grant, the program will expand from its two pilot locations to 10 of the city’s recreation centers. The initiative has a multi-generational strategy, offering additional resources for parents to receive their GED certification, along with parenting and nutrition education workshops.
“Investing in Atlanta’s youth through programs designed to teach them about the importance of wellness and physical fitness in a safe, structured learning environment is one of my top priorities,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “This generous grant to support the Centers of Hope enables the City of Atlanta to expand its successful pilot program at the Thomasville and Adamsville Recreation Centers into a sustainable, community-based initiative for young people.”
Additional Georgia grant recipients include:
• The PATH Foundation, Make the Connection Campaign, $500,000;
• YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta and its branches, Empowering Healthy Living, $75,000;
• Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, Healthy Atlanta BeltLine, $100,000;
• Piedmont Park, Kids Get Active, $30,000;
• Soccer In The Streets, Expanded Opportunities, $75,000; and
• Ryan Cameron Foundation, Healthy Lifestyle, $25,000.
In the featured photo at top: Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co., center, was joined today by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, left, and City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed as the company announced its commitments to fight obesity locally and around the world. (Photo by Michael Pugh)
Coca-Cola commits $2B to plant 25K acres of orange trees in Florida
In other Coca-Cola news, the company said Tuesday that it is supporting Florida’s largest citrus planting in 25 years with a commitment to purchase approximately $2 billion worth of oranges produced by the new groves. Partnering with Cutrale Citrus Juices and Peace River Citrus Products, Coca-Cola’s investment will enable the growers to plant 25,000 acres of orange trees, according to a news release.
Through this collaboration Coca-Cola says it will procure all of the fruit produced by these trees over the next 20 years. According to a 25-year study conducted by the Florida Department of Citrus, this initiative will add more than 4,100 direct and indirect jobs to the state economy.
“Citrus is synonymous with Florida, but the industry has faced many challenges in recent years, particularly the growing threat of citrus greening,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. “With Coca-Cola’s generous investment towards 25,000 acres of new orange groves in Central Florida, the citrus industry and our state’s entire economy will benefit.”
Coca-Cola has played an active role in the Florida citrus industry since purchasing Minute Maid in 1960. Today, the company operates 26 facilities in Florida, employing 6,100 associates. Over the last five years, The Coca-Cola Co. has invested more than $400 million in its operations throughout the state. Most recently, the Auburndale, Fla., facility, which produces Simply juices, underwent a significant expansion. Adding a new production line and increased warehouse space, this multi-million dollar project created 129 new jobs, bringing the total number of facility employees to more than 500.
“The Coca-Cola Co. is proud to be part of this investment in Florida and its citrus industry. A thriving Florida citrus industry is critical to helping us build our Simply and Minute Maid juice brands,” said Steve Cahillane, president of Coca-Cola Americas. “Through viable partnerships and meaningful investment with Cutrale and Peace River, we together will foster sustainable, responsible growth in Florida. This is good news for the state’s citrus industry, our business and the communities we serve.”
The Coca-Cola Co. is the leading marketer of fruit juices and drinks in the U.S. and globally. In the U.S., the Minute Maid and Simply brands offer more than than 100 different varieties, including low-calorie options. In partnership with Cutrale Citrus Juices, Coca-Cola purchases nearly a third of all Florida oranges grown by more than 400 local growers.
“Coca-Cola’s commitment to purchase all of the fruit from the new groves enables us to play a role in helping restore Florida’s citrus industry with the largest planting of orange trees in 25 years,” said Jose Luis Cutrale, CEO of Cutrale Citrus Juices.