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My Journey in Sustainability at Coca-Cola Amatil

Our people
25.08.2017
3 MIN

At Coca-Cola Amatil we operate responsibly in all we do to deliver a positive and lasting environmental legacy. This includes minimizing our impact on climate change, from our own operations and through support for community environmental activities.

Scott Edwards is Group Environmental Sustainability Manager at Coca-Cola Amatil. He shares his inspiration,challenges and future plans for a more sustainable Coca-Cola Amatil.

 Why did you pursue a career in sustainability?

I didn’t deliberately at least, I came to CCA in 2004 as a production manager with a chemical engineering background. After six years with CCA the environment position came up and I convinced others that my engineering background would be beneficial to the role. I’ve been expanding upon it ever since.

 The scope of sustainability within CCA is almost limitless. I’ve found myself on a continual learning journey over the last 12 months, and I now know more about water, lighting, renewables, the circular economy and carbon accounting than I ever thought I would. It probably seems a bit nerdy but I love it. Tying these things in with economic drivers really makes the job meaningful to me, and being able to appeal to the pain points of different functions within the business is really satisfying.

 [Some things I do include] building a business case for a lighting project that means significant cost savings and lower maintenance or electricity costs; improving safety through higher lux, reducing other risks and even insurance premiums, cutting energy consumption and removing glass from the production floor -- all in one project. Seeing all these benefits come together is fun.

 Likewise seeing the Northmead site become the most water and energy efficient in the entire business from the initiatives now also being driven by those outside of the environment team. That gives me great pride that we’ve built a culture of corporate responsibility beyond those who have it in their formal job description.

 Why is it important to you?

As I said in a past life I was, and to a degree still am, an engineer, I find numbers and science interesting. I can’t play a musical instrument to save my life but I can still remember a fair chunk of the periodic table. And I am a climate change believer. Sustainability implies an ongoing viability which is essential for long term business thinking.

 But I suppose my final and biggest reason is that I want my children to have at least the same opportunities I did and hopefully better ones. Without change to a more sustainable world that opportunity I feel will be less likely.

 What made you choose Amatil?

The brand. I’ve never once had to explain who Coca-Cola Amatil is to anyone I meet. They know who we are; maybe they don’t know everything we do in the sustainability field, but we’re changing that. Our latest report will be published soon and with each iteration we find more and more that the journey we started is brining tangible benefits across the entire business.

 What are your bigger goals/dreams for a more sustainable Amatil?

A sustainable value chain, within the limits of what’s possible.

 We’re making real progress in responsible sourcing for our most important inputs like our ingredients and raw materials. We are world leaders in some of our packaging innovations, making real improvements in our own energy efficiency and investing in renewables.

 We’re working with our major suppliers to reduce our impact across all areas of the supply chain whether it be in our distribution fleet or the refrigeration equipment we supply to our customers. The power of the Coca-Cola system to bring about change is extraordinary. We may not always get it right the first time but we’ll always work toward improving upon where we are now.

 What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Bringing new people along the journey with me, seeing and hearing what I felt about the role being realised by others now in it and finding those who share the passion for sustainability. The opportunities to make your mark are plentiful and having the leaders of the business recognise that is definitely what keeps me coming back, digging deeper and exploring more areas of opportunity.

 What is the most challenging?

Keeping up with the pace of change. Technology is evolving so rapidly that what was an idea a short time ago can be a commercialised product soon after. Solar is a great example of that; costs continue to fall dramatically year on year whilst efficiency of panels increases.

 Battery technology is still a little bit of a first-adopters market and is where solar probably was five years ago. But I believe it’ll catch up much faster than solar did and living off the grid will be a viable option for some households sooner rather than later.