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Coca-Cola Gives Back, Helps the World Live Positively

While a growing number of businesses are embracing sustainability as a way to mitigate some of the negative impacts that might result from their global operations, a handful are raising the bar, using their considerable resources to improve conditions for those they do business with around the world.

As part of a worldwide commitment to give back to the communities in which it operates, Coca-Cola in 2009 launched its Live Positively campaign — a set of initiatives that aim to create positive change in the world through sustainability. Projects within the campaign tackle everything from climate protection and balanced living to education and community. One area of focus — empowering women in developing nations through job and business training falls under the 5 by 20 initiative, a goal of empowering 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s global value chain by the year 2020. Beginning in Brazil, India, South Africa and the Philippines, and expanding to China, Mexico, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Haiti and Egypt, Coke plans to reach women worldwide in the coming years. 

Image credit: Erika Badulina

In Brazil, the initiative took the form of the Coletivo (Portuguese for “collective”) program, which offers two-month courses in business and retail training to young adults, entrepreneurs and artisans, and has grown from five to 136 programs across Brazil. The program features several focus areas, including:

      • Coletivo 1st Job, which trains young adults ages 15-25 in job skills and retail business basics. To date, 66% of the over 25,000 graduates have been women, and 30% have gotten jobs through participating retail customers.
      • Coletivo Residential Entrepreneurshipprovides female entrepreneurs with business skills to enable them to start small shops in their homes.
      • Coletivo Recycling supports recycling cooperatives by investing in materials, infrastructure and specific skills which allow cooperatives to increase efficiency and sustainability.
      • Hundreds of local artisans throughout Brazil — 97% of whom are women — turn recycled Coca-Cola packages into art, jewelry, handbags and other sellable items. Coletivo Arts provides business and design training to enable these artisans to earn greater and more stable incomes from their businesses.

The ongoing success of the Coletivo program is an inspiring example of the type of impacts companies can make in the communities in which they operate. On November 27, we’ll hear from Claudia Lorenzo — Director of Special Projects for Coca-Cola Brazil — how the company has created shared benefits that extend throughout its value chain, in a breakout session on day one of the SB London Conference.

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