Sustainability Approach & Impact

Sustainability approach and impact

Sustainability approach


Coca‑Cola HBC Bulgaria is one of the biggest manufacturers of soft drinks in the country and owns the exclusive right to bottle the products of The Coca‑Cola Company.

It is our moral obligation to be a significant investor with responsible commercial practices, a preferred employer, and a company sensitive to the environment that always takes into consideration the interests of the community. We, the entire team of Coca‑Cola HBC Bulgaria, are proud of our name. It is a synonym of a unique product as well as of a dynamic company.

Water Resource Management

Water is a main raw material for our products and therefore we are committed to use and effectively manage water resources that are directly related to our production centers, but also to protect the entire river catchment, wetlands, and significant areas in the locations of our plants. We save water usage, we treat waste waters before returning them to nature, and we apply the requirements of an international standard of water resources management (AWS – Alliance for Water Stewardship). Our company is engaged to minimize the impact of its operations by using the water wisely. We guarantee that the waste waters are treated up to levels that meet the legal requirements. We assess the future availabilities of water, and we work to decrease the economic and social impacts related to the usage of water in our operations. We engage communities so to increase the awareness and protection of water resources through local and international partnership programs. The company is actively participating in the development of standards and water stewardship policies in partnership with key stakeholders. It shares and encourages good practices of water management as well.

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By reducing the quantity of water, energy and packaging used in producing each beverage, we add value to our business. We do this by reducing our costs in the short term as well as risks to our business’ long-term development and growth. The projects we bring to life help us be among the leaders in this area and make our employees proud to work at Coca‑Cola HBC Bulgaria. 

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Our business strategy and core values reflect the critical importance of creating shared value for employees, consumers, customers and communities. To achieve this, sustainability must be deeply embedded into our business. In our company, responsible behaviour and sustainable development do not end with the production of a Coca‑Cola bottle but they spread to the entire value chain – from raw material manufacturers through suppliers to the end customer and community at large. Our aim is to create value for every consumer and to be an agent of positive change in community and in the whole world.

Ultimately, our sustainability approach is translated into specific commitments that we aim to reach by 2020 or earlier.

To build trust with our communities, at Coca‑Cola HBC we recognise the importance of a comprehensive governance framework that reduces risk across the value chain. Where appropriate, this makes use of the benefits of being part of the Coca‑Cola system.

We are committed to strong corporate governance and leadership, as well as transparency in our disclosures. We regularly report on our progress against our ambitious strategies and long-term targets.


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Material issues

We identify and focus on the issues that have the biggest impact on our business and matter most to our stakeholders.

Material issues include the economic, environmental and social risks that could affect our reputation and ability to create value over the short, medium and long term.

At Coca‑Cola HBC we aim to understand and address the issues with the highest impact to our business and our communities. We are always looking to improve our approach to identifying the most important of these risks and impacts, and report on our approach and progress against material issues transparently.

The materiality process provides insights to our business strategy and makes sure that our integrated and sustainability reporting is relevant.

How we identify and prioritise material issues

To identify the key issues for our business, we monitor external trends and how these affect our ability to grow our business sustainably over time.

We prioritise these issues based on their relative importance to our business and to society at large, mapping the most important ones annually in our materiality matrix.

Our systematic materiality assessment process helps us prioritise the issues in line with the Global Reporting Initiative G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

How material an issue is to our business depends on how it relates to:

  • Our purpose, mission and business strategy
  • The brands we produce and sell
  • The impact our operations have on the economies, environment and society in the 28 countries in which we operate
  • The importance of an issue to our stakeholders
  • The extent we can influence the issue as a company

Learning from our stakeholders

Understanding the needs and interests of our stakeholders – including our partners, customers, suppliers and community members and employees – helps us to prioritise our material issues. This in turn helps us develop sustainable business strategies, enabling us to create value in the long term.

We actively seek out our stakeholders’ opinions and insights by:

  • Organising stakeholder forums
  • Interviewing key internal decision makers and external partners
  • Engaging with external stakeholders on an ongoing basis
  • Surveying over 300 of our leaders from each function, country and the Group as well as more than 360 external stakeholders nominated by our 28 markets and the Group Corporate Office
  • Considering the material issues list of The Coca‑Cola Company and other bottlers as well as other food and beverage companies
  • Listening to feedback from our Group Risk Forum

Managing materiality

To ensure good governance, the Social Responsibility Committee of the Board of Directors and the Sustainability Steering Committee, which consists of key subject matter experts and decision makers, regularly review our priorities in light of changing issues and expectations.

We review our material issues annually to make sure that we always reflect new insights from the business and our stakeholders.




Stakeholder engagement

We believe that in order for us to be successful and useful we need to take into consideration the opinion of all stakeholders and to address their needs.

Our goal is to create shared value along the whole value chain – from taking care of our employees, through partnership with our customers and suppliers, to satisfying the needs of our consumers and developing the community in Bulgaria. We regularly communicate with key stakeholders in order to have better understanding of their needs and the ways in which we can cooperate.

Stakeholder group How we engage
Shareholders and analysts Annual General Meetings, quarterly roadshows and results briefings, webcasts, ongoing dialogue with analysts and investors
Employees Sustainable engagement and values index surveys, quarterly CEO management calls, Annual Leadership Conference, employee communications channels such as intranet and internal social media, individual development plans, internal communications campaigns, community and active lifestyle projects, volunteerism, Employee Works Council, whistleblower hotline
Customers Regular visits, dedicated account teams, joint business planning, joint value creation initiatives, customer care centres, customer satisfaction surveys
Consumers Consumer hotlines, local websites, plant tours, research, surveys, focus groups
Suppliers Joint value creation initiatives, annual supplier conference, sustainable sourcing, Supplier Guiding Principles, packaging associations, whistleblower hotline
Governments and regulatory authorities Recycling and recovery initiatives, EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, foreign investment advisory councils, chambers of commerce
Non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations (NGOs and iGOs) Dialogue, policy work, partnerships on common issues, memberships of business and industry associations
Communities Plant visits, community meetings, partnerships on common issues, sponsorship activities, lectures at universities
The Coca‑Cola Company Day-to-day interaction as business partners, joint projects, joint business planning, functional groups on strategic issues, ‘Top-to-Top’ senior management


Systems and standards

We aim to run our business in a manner that is ethical, responsible and sustainable, adopting leading management systems and standards to help us continually improve our performance.

Coca‑Cola HBC Bulgaria certifies its bottling plants and warehouses according to international standards for:

  • Quality management (ISO 9001)
  • Food safety (ISO 22000)
  • Environment (ISO 14001)
  • Occupational Health and Safety (OHSAS 18001)
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Our management system encompasses the requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. All drinks manufactured by  Coca‑Cola HBC Bulgaria meet state standards of quality and food safety, as well as the global standards of The Coca‑Cola Company. We are also guided by our Code of Business Conduct which defines the standards of business behaviour that all employees are bound by. Employees can report breaches of the Code in confidence via a dedicated telephone line and email address.

Sustainability ratings

Coca‑Cola HBC is rated against a number of major sustainability benchmarks, including Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI), CDP and FTSE4Good.

At Coca‑Cola HBC, we are committed to being at the forefront of sustainable practice and performance in the beverage industry. 

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Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI)

Coca‑Cola HBC is the world sustainability leader in the beverage industry, topping the Dow Jones World and Europe Sustainability Indexes for beverage companies for three years in a row - 2014, 2015 and 2016. We’ve been included in the DJSI every year since 2008 – recognition of our focus on continuously improving our sustainability performance. Launched in 1999, the DJSI is considered a global benchmark in corporate sustainability.

More about Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes


Coca‑Cola HBC has been named Industry Leader – the top-performing company in the beverage sector – and awarded a Gold Class distinction in RobecoSAM’s annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment. RobecoSAM is an specialist in sustainability investing. The Corporate Sustainability Assessment focuses on examining financially material factors that impact a company’s core business value drivers. 

More about RobecoSAM

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Coca‑Cola HBC has been continuously listed on the FTSE4Good Index since 2001. This series of indices is designed to measure the performance of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange that demonstrate strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices.

More about FTSE4Good


Vigeo has rated Coca‑Cola HBC since 2004; in 2015 we were also a constituent of the Vigeo Europe Top 120 Index. The Vigeo Group supplies analysis to asset managers, assessing companies' performance in sustainable development and social responsibility.

More about Vigeo

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Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Indices

In 2015, CDP awarded Coca‑Cola HBC an B rating. CDP is a global not-for-profit organisation which provides a natural capital disclosure system through which companies report, manage and share vital environmental information.

More about CDP


We have been included in the Ethibel EXCELLENCE Investment Register since 2007. Forum ETHIBEL is an independent agency that advises banks and brokers on socially responsible investments, reviewing companies worldwide on their economic, social and environmental performance. ETHIBEL looks for companies that are social responsible entrepreneurship trendsetters in their sector and region.

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Coca‑Cola HBC has been a constituent of the ECPI Indices since 2010. ECPI is a leading rating and index company which has been dedicated to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) research since 1997.

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MSCI ESG research

Coca‑Cola HBC AG has the highest Intangible Value Assessment (IVA) rating of AAA and is ranked in the top 18% in the industry.

MSCI Inc. provides investment decision support tools to investors globally, including indexes, ESG data and research.

More about MSCI

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