We’re very happy to announce that all production in Coca-Cola European Partners' (CCEP) factories in Great Britain is now powered by 100% renewable electricity. This is partly due to a brand new solar farm near their factory in Wakefield. Here’s how they achieved this goal and why local heroes were key in making it happen.

97% of the drinks sold in Great Britain are produced in 6 factories across the country by Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) and they are now proud to announce that all the electricity they use across these factories is from 100% renewable energy sources. In fact, all electricity across the Coca-Cola system sites, from our offices to their distribution centres, is now 100% renewable.  This is a part of their commitment to establishing fully sustainable manufacturing across the country.  

100% renewable electricity, country-wide

As one of the country’s leading manufacturers, renewable energy is particularly important for CCEP operations. Our goal is to cut our carbon footprint by a third by 2020, and our new collaboration with EDF Energy is a huge step in helping us achieve that goal. It’s through this collaboration that we can source all of the electricity our factories use in Great Britain from renewable sources. 

“At CCEP we are dedicated to minimising the impact of our operations, and are continually exploring new approaches, innovations and technology to achieve this.” – Leendert Den Hollander, Vice President & General Manager at CCEP

But this isn’t the only renewable energy announcement we have. We have another one… and it’s as big as 12 football pitches.

The Wakefield solar farm

The farm in all its glory

The biggest of the CCEP factories in Great Britain, and in fact, the largest soft drinks factory in the whole of Europe, is based in Wakefield. One in every three drinks we sell in GB is made at the West Yorkshire factory, which has been around for close to 30 years and employs over 450 people. The site has just seen the completion of a long-term sustainability project, with the creation of a large new solar farm just 1.5 miles away from the factory.

And when we say large, we mean it. It’s eight hectares in size, which is the same as 12 full-sized football pitches. This giant farm will produce up to five megawatts of energy, and is directly connected to the factory a mile-and-a-half down the road. This all means that 15% of the site’s total electricity use will now be covered by the new solar farm, cutting the factory’s carbon footprint by a great 8.6%.

This isn’t the first solar farm we’ve used in Great Britain. Other, smaller installations have been used at other sites across the country. From these we’ve learned how best to use this developing technology over a number of years, leading to our largest farm and largest investment in the technology to date.

“We’ve been collaborating with partners across Great Britain to build our renewable energy credentials and have enjoyed working together with a number of local groups and businesses in Wakefield to support this.” – Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability at CCEP

This isn’t the first renewable project that the Wakefield factory has seen. Back in 2014, a £1 million combined heat and power (CHP) system was introduced, which reduced the CO2 emissions of the factory by 5.6%, which is around 1,500 tonnes worth.

These two renewable projects will see, in total, a drop in CO2 of 3,800 tonnes per year which is the equivalent of taking over 1,700 cars off the road.

A local hero

Two local heroes: Stephen Butterfield and Tomasz Parzyk

Plenty of people, companies and partners have helped make this all happen. But this new solar farm couldn’t have happened without one of our local heroes; Tomasz Parzyk. Tomasz has worked at the Wakefield site since 2007, becoming Environmental Manager in 2014, a role perfect for someone with such a passion for the environment and sustainability.

“As a resident and business owner near Wakefield, I’m very excited to be working with one of the world’s largest brands on such a worthwhile initiative.” – Stephen Butterfield, solar farm landowner

Tomasz has worked with different partners and the local community to make the Wakefield site achieve its sustainability goals, playing an invaluable part in making the solar farm a reality.

His passion for environment and sustainability developed from an early age, having been fascinated by the work that his grandfather did as a forest maintainer. He enjoyed learning more about his grandfather’s work as the pair went on hikes together in the local forest, eventually leading Tomasz to study environment and biology.

But, while Tomasz has done a great deal on his own, sometimes you need a little help from your friends…

The clean team

The farm has been built on land owned by Stephen Butterfield, a businessman local to Wakefield. Stephen has helped to make sure that the land has remained dual-purpose, with plenty of grazing land still available for farm animals, alongside the solar panels themselves, which have been provided by Athos Solar.

“With the site maintaining dual-use as grazing land, Stephen’s animals are free to roam across the farm and we are proud to be supporting a local farming business in Wakefield.” – Leendert Den Hollander

Our 100% renewable electricity sourcing has been achieved with the help of EDF Energy and other partners, such as the Carbon Trust, who we’ve worked with for many years.

John Newton, Associate Director at the Carbon Trust said: “Working with CCEP over the past decade, the company has continuously made impressive reductions in its environmental impact, at the same time as taking a strong leadership position on sustainability issues.

“This new move to purchase renewable electricity is yet another positive step forwards from the company, demonstrating that the business case for going low carbon is no barrier to commercial success.”

Sustainability is a long-term commitment that requires a great deal of team work, and we will continue to work internally and with our partners to achieve our growing sustainability goals. But, for now, hitting our 100% renewable electricity target is a great milestone.

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