Coca Cola was at the centre of a consultation in Washington DC last week claiming tools to measure a business’s socio-economic impact are not democratic enough.
The claim followed the publication of a report by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), entitled ‘Measuring Socio-economic impact’. The report investigated the ways of measuring the numerous variables that can affect socio-economic impact.
According to Coca-Cola’s International Public Affairs Director Marika McCauley Sine, the tools used to measure this impact are not ‘democratic’ enough.
McCauley Sine expressed Coca-Cola’s disappointment that more multinational companies are not addressing the issues discussed in the report with a greater amount of vigour.
Director at the WBCSD, Filippo Veglio commented that although companies are becoming increasingly interested in sustainability and socio-economic factors as part of their corporate social responsibility strategies, there is still a huge problem when it comes to measuring impact internally and externally.
The reason Coca-Cola formed such an important part of the consultation was due to its partnership with Oxfam over the past three years to investigate tools to measure socio-economic impact. This relationship was built with the objective of increasing accountability and transparency and has led to the creation of a new company office at Coca-Cola specifically focussed on the issues of sustainability.
Veglio stressed the importance of data reporting in helping businesses ascertain where action is required, as well as where savings can be made. Coca Cola is an advocate of this, as in addition to increasing the company’s understanding of its footprint and benefiting communities in developing countries, the model has, according to the company, increased its efficiency.
“The idea is taking root” said McCauley Sine, despite the lack of a universally agreed impact measurement system which needs to be “straightforward, affordable and accessible” she said.
Coca-Cola has long been focussed on sustainability initiatives within its whole supply chain and is taking active steps to embed the principles of its socio-economic agenda in any company it works with. These principles include an increased focus on water stewardship, reducing the amount used in addition to treating and recycling waste, as well as an aspiration to reduce overall emissions and recover half of packaging at the end of the product’s lifespan.
April 5th, 2013