Coca‑Cola blog: Giving things a second chance
As the Paralympic Games come to a close, Katherine Symonds explains what happens next...
I’ve had the enormous privilege of working on Coca-Cola’s London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic team since 2009, so it's with mixed feelings that I enter the closing week of this spectacular event.
I’m so proud of what the Coca-Cola team has achieved, and so awed by the scale and success of the Games themselves. I consider it an honour – a once-in-a-lifetime chance – to have been allowed to get so close to the action.
As the team member with responsibility for sustainability, my job isn’t over yet though. One of the most important aspects of sustainable event management is thinking through what happens to everything next. We’ve bought all kinds of kit and equipment to support our Games-time efforts, and all of this needs a new home.
In many cases, we designed with the end in mind. For instance, we installed menu boards in all the food and drink concessions across the Olympic and Paralympic venues. As well as making them from recycled material, we also chose to make them more robust, so they can be reused after the Games are over. In fact, they were designed with special ‘pop-out’ logos so we can take off the Olympic marks, and put in generic logos, making them suitable for reuse in cafes and restaurants all over the country.
A bigger example of this way of thinking is the Coca-Cola Beatbox Pavilion – the temporary structure we put up in the Olympic Park to celebrate Future Flames. It was designed to be completely deconstructed and recycled or reused once the Paralympic Games are over.
Some of the investments we’ve made to deliver our sponsorship of London 2012 sustainably will leave a long-term legacy for our business too. For instance, every Coca-Cola cooler installed in an Olympic or Paralympic venue was one of our new energy-efficient, low carbon models – they are HFC-free, energy-efficient and use LED lighting. Post-Games, these will be put in customer premises right across Europe, spreading the environmental benefits they bring.
To help us move product around during the Games, we bought 14 biogas trucks, powered by methane captured from a landfill site in Surrey. Each vehicle has a carbon footprint less than half that of a typical diesel truck. After the Games, these trucks will continue to be used to distribute our products, ensuring that this carbon reduction benefit lasts well beyond London 2012. In fact, these trucks will cut the carbon footprint of the Coca-Cola System by approximately 1,500 tonnes over their lifespan.
So while London 2012 might be nearing the end, the benefits of our sustainability programme will be felt long into the future.