By Princewill Ekwujuru

Soda drink manufacturers have been positioning their products based on their achievements and initiatives towards combating climate change, especially now that majority of consumers are conscious of climate change and ready to buy environmentally friendly products.

The five soda brands competing for top spots on consumers eco-friendly list   include Coca-Cola, produced by Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, CCNL, among others; Big cola, manufactured by Ajeast Nigeria Limited and others; Bigi by Rite Foods Limited, LaCasera, produced by LaCasera Nigeria Limited and Pepsi, manufactured by SevenUp Bottling Company, SBC, bottled under franchise from PepsiCo of US.

These brands are also trying to impress consumers by doing what others are doing, “Anything you can do, I can do greener.”

The brands are making the packaging of their products more sustainable. For example, Coca-Cola is consumed  more than 2billion times a day, and because of this demand, environmentally responsible packaging is now being used.

The methods the companies have chosen to combat climate change (make environment greener) vary especially Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Both soda companies have today deployed scavengers to gather empty PET bottles for recycling, a step for greener environment.

The companies have also made commitment to replace the water used for their beverages and production.

They have  likewise reduced the amount of water used for their beverages, and have recycled the water used in production processes such as for rinsing, cleaning, heating and cooling.

The soda producers have also replenished the water used by expanding support of initiatives that protect, conserve and improve access to water in communities where it operates, especially Nigeria.

In 2007, both brands reeled out their  initiatives towards combating climate change.

Vanguard  Companies &Markets, C&M  finding reveal that Pepsi was first to jump on the “green” bandwagon    by purchasing its first renewable energy certificates (RECs) in April 2007. This step propelled the company to head the list of US green power buyers.

It bought more than 1.1billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy in over three years, which is enough to offset the electricity use of all of its US manufacturing, distribution and administrative offices.

The Company  in a statement said that energy is a key focus of its environmental sustaina-bility agenda. “The purchase of these RECs is not only in line with our progress to date, but further advances our commitment to sustainabi-lity.

As a result of these initiatives, we now top the US Environmental Protection Agency’s quarterly list of America’s 25 greenest energy users, a position that grants the company marketing leverage over its competitors,” the statement said.

Further finding by  C&M  show that Coca-Cola on its part has chosen to embark on a very different path to sustainability.

The Coca-Cola company in 2007announced a new commitment to replace the water used in its beverages and production processes.

On its Web site, Coca-Cola explained its decision to focus on sustainable water use practices.   “We want to sustain our business and therefore, we need to be careful with our resources and use them efficiently.”

The company also plans to preserve water resources by using it more efficiently and ensuring that every gallon of water used will make a gallon of product.

About 1.3 billion people around the world are said to be without access to safe drinking water and as projected that by 2025, an estimated one-third of the world’s population will face severe and chronic water shortages, but Coca-Cola says it’s committed to doing its part to protect and preserve water resources.

Discovery by  C&M  also reveal  that Coca-Cola is making the packaging of its product more sustainable, because of this demand, environmentally responsible packaging is now being used.

Coca-Cola has sought to advance the development of a recycling-based society and design consumer-preferred, resource-effective packaging, to encourage recovery and reuse.

Part of Coca-Cola’s packaging initiative has been to use sustainable bulk packaging systems such as refillable steel tanks or the bag-in-box (BIB). BIBs and steel tanks now make up 12 percent of Coca-Cola’s global volume distribution.

Coca-Cola has made other efforts toward becoming environmentally responsible and self-sustaining in the future. In 2005, Coca-Cola is one of the first companies to join the Global Greenhouse Gas Register, (GHG), of the World Economic Forum.

The company also adopted the GHG Protocol, a joint initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the World Resources Institute, which aims to harmonize GHG accounting and reporting standards. Questions sent through the public relations agencies of the soda brands could not be replied as at the time of this publication.

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