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Efficiency and environmental impact – what can members learn from Coca Cola


On 24/05/13 by Daisy Blench (Policy Manager - Responsibility)


The brewing industry has made significant progress in tackling energy efficiency, water use and waste levels more generally. However, learning from other industries is a great way to gain ideas and inspiration. Eager to learn more, the BBPA Environment Panel, comprising environment and engineering specialists, held its latest meeting on-site at the Coca Cola Plant in Wakefield.


Coca-Cola Enterprises has a fantastic reputation for being one of the most forward-thinking and dynamic companies in the food and drink sector, and their plant in Wakefield is one of its flagship sites. The company has wisely invested in ultra efficient pieces of production equipment and has actively encouraged efficient practices amongst staff to reduce energy use and use machinery effectively. Staff are incentivised to take the issue of environmental impact seriously.


Since 2007, the plant has invested £51 million to improve speed and efficiency at the plant and has reaped the environmental rewards. In this period they have reduced water use by 10% and energy use by 16.5%.

Brewers were hugely impressed by the efficiency, health and safety procedures and generally excellent practices shown at the plant. The active staff engagement in the process of continual improvement of the plant’s environmental performance particularly stood out.


With a new BBPA Environmental Strategy for pubs and brewers under development, this visit provided a great opportunity to look at another industry which is leading the way in showcasing environmental best practice and learn some lessons to help with progress in our industry.


There were some key learnings that can be transferred into the brewing sector. Staff involvement, education and communication shone through as a critical, if challenging, objective. This applies throughout the workforce. Detailed and targeted monitoring of performance supports this and enables changes to be measured and celebrated. And investment, both large and small in scale, can play a big part (admittedly, not paying excise duty does give Coca-Cola a definite advantage in capital expenditure!).


This shows just how much can be learnt by getting out of the brewery and seeing what’s going on in other industries. Next stop for the Panel, Rolls Royce Aerospace!



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