Want clever and cunning solutions to environmental problems? Then channeling individuals’ unique ideas and passions is one way to inspire new alternatives with powerful results. Here’s how one non-profit organisation is setting students’ entrepreneurial skills alight…

Enactus World Cup attendee writing her pledge for a photo in the Coca-Cola photo booth

At The Coca-Cola Company we’re always interested in innovative ways to become more sustainable as a business. That’s why we’re proud to sponsor Enactus – a global entrepreneurial community of students, academics and business leaders who are using their ideas to shape a more sustainable world.

Read more about Enactus and the work they’re doing to bring about change

“Since 1994 Coca-Cola has partnered with Enactus, supporting over 17 million volunteer hours impacting the lives of over 1 million people.”

Entrepreneurs in action

The United Nations (UN), together with world leaders, has developed 17 sustainable development goals: a ‘to-do’ list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.  Enactus supports students to develop projects to tackle these and in 2016, they empowered over 69,000 students from 36 countries to undertake more than 4,100 projects to address these goals.

The UN’s 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development

Find out more about the UN’s goals on their website

What do Enactus projects look like?

There is huge variation in the projects that Enactus students design and deliver, here are some examples:

  • Using recycled plastic bottles to safely heat water for families in South Africa
  • Repurposing vinyl signs to sell as a Mexican social enterprise
  • Recycling mattresses to provide sustainable employment for the homeless and rehabilitated offenders in Nashville, Tennessee

Enactus works with students and university teams, encouraging them to improve and implement their ideas. Since 1994 Coca-Cola has partnered with Enactus, supporting over 17 million volunteer hours impacting the lives of over 1 million people.

Coca-Cola Great Britain Sustainability Manager Liz Lowe explains our enthusiasm in supporting Enactus: “Sustainability is a crucial part of our growth strategy at Coca-Cola. That’s why we’re pleased to be able to offer our support to this initiative. We’re excited to see the progress they’re making towards achieving sustainable, smart solutions to societal problems in communities all over the world.

How is Coca-Cola involved?

As a global sponsor we enable participants to transform sustainability ideas into realities by:

  • Practical involvement of our employees on the board of directors and executive committees, including acting as judges at competitions
  • Financially we are one of the leading worldwide sponsors, supporting projects getting off the ground and the annual Enactus World Cup

Student Entrepreneurs at the Coca-Cola recycling stand 2017 Enactus World Cup in London

Competition drives success

Competition in business leads to creativity and the best results, and so Enactus competitions are designed to hone global entrepreneurship in sustainability. With the mantra –

“When we compete to improve lives, we all win.”

Every year business leaders judge national competitions and select the best team to represent their country at the Enactus World Cup. The 2017 World Cup was held in London at the end of September.

3,500 students attended the ExCel Centre in a celebration of the innovative projects delivered by the 36 national teams present. “The Enactus World Cup is a great opportunity for us to support and engage future leaders and champion innovation when it comes to sustainability,” says Liz.

And the 2017 winner is…

The team from India took top place with a project that opened computer centres for Indian villagers who can’t afford modern technology. The 15 computer centres created jobs for 30 female entrepreneurs and improved school performance by 9% at the primary school level. Effectively bridging the urban-rural and gender gap, it’s no wonder the Udaan Project came out on top.

We can’t wait to see what projects Enactus students come up with next year…

Read more about the winning project on the Enactus website