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Emil Kolev: We turn commitments into actions and results

The Plant Manager at Coca-Cola HBC in Bankya answers the questions of "24 Chasa"

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What role does innovation play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals? What does the production center in Bankya do and what is your role in the innovation process as a Manager?

I will hardly surprise anyone if I say that innovation is the engine of change towards a more sustainable and stable world. And my role is to nurture the culture of continuous striving for improvement in my colleagues and myself also. I am happy to be part of a company that doesn't just follow but creates and enforces market trends. Because when innovation is sustainable, value added is not late.

Among the main goals of Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria is the achievement of net zero emissions. Reasoning, tell us more about the sustainability goals the company plans to meet by 2025. What is next?

As part of the Coca-Cola System, we seek to invest in a range of meaningful topics related to our environmental impacts, as well as social and economic issues that are important to society altogether. We are proud that we managed to prematurely fulfil part of our goals until 2025 in the field of sustainable development. For example, 100% of the packaging of all Coca-Cola products is now recyclable, while at the same time we have achieved a 30% reduction in direct carbon emissions. Reducing the carbon footprint on the environment is a topic that excites us not since yesterday, and in which we invest purposefully. We have made a commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 and this is not something new for us as a direction of development. Over the past two years, we have taken a series of important steps to build on what we have already started. Foremost, 48% of the total energy we use in our production centers in Bankya and Kostinbrod is from renewable and clean sources, and the production at the plant in Bankya relies entirely on green energy.

Carbon emissions per unit of beverage produced were also reduced by 37% compared to 2019, and the energy required to produce 1 liter of beverage is now 10% less. By investing in energy-efficient coolers and refrigerators in just one year, the Coca-Cola System in our country saved 3 000 tons of emissions and we achieved a 46% reduction in electricity used. The phased replacement of our fleet with new energy-efficient hybrid cars is already a fact. So, thanks to all these steps, over 90 000 tons is the total saved emissions from our entire activity in the country for 2020 and 2021, but more importantly, we will not stop there.

We continue to support the socio-economic development of local communities and have a more positive impact on the environment. We do this through training programs for youths such as #YouthEmpowered, under which nearly 10 000 youths went in the last 2 years alone. This autumn, traditionally, the anniversary edition of our cleaning initiative “My Green City” is coming up, in which not only our employees but also their families participate. There are so many examples, and I am happy that together we turn commitments into actions, and them into results that change for the better.

You can find the entire interview with Emil Kolev on the "24 Chasa" website.