By Etop Ekanem
In commemoration of this year’s World Environment Day, consumer packaged goods company and strategic bottling partner of The Coca-Cola Company in Nigeria, Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd. (NBC), has reaffirmed its commitment to environmental stewardship by organising beach cleaning and tree-planting activities to create awareness on the importance of safeguarding the earth’s finite resources.
The company leveraged its employee volunteer scheme to launch a tree-planting campaign aimed at addressing the climate change crisis and driving awareness on the importance of trees to the environment.
In Lagos, the exercise held at Gbara Community Senior Secondary School in collaboration with key partners, including Hope for Life Initiative, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA)and Ministry of the Environment.
Commenting on the initiative, Managing Director of NBC, Matthieu Seguin, said: “Over the years, Africa’s forest cover has seen a steady decline, which invariably threatens the ability of its ecosystems to withstand climate change. Our tree-planting campaign is not only a direct response to this problem, but also a platform to galvanisecorporate participation in promoting interventions that support the sustainability of our planet.”
According to Matthieu, this initiative complements NBC’s ambitious commitment to achieving net zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2040.
The company also organised a beach cleaning exercise in conjunction with its growth partners, Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd and MEDIC, a non-governmental organisation, with a total of 267 participating employees drawn from its expansive pool of volunteers.
Seguin, who was represented by Ekuma Eze, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director, described the event as part of NBC’s Mission 2025 commitments to decisively address the challenge posed by environmental pollution.
“The ocean is the largest life-sustaining resource on earth, and we all have a responsibility to preserve it. Humans rely on the ocean for food and transport, and it regulates our climate and is home to an abundance of biodiversity. I would urge us all to view this as a symbolic action to drive the message home that we all have a responsibility in our communities to become ambassadors for responsible disposal of waste.
“This is why environmental sustainability has continued to be a part of our growth strategy which is further encapsulated in our World Without Waste agenda. Our vision as a system is a world where plastic does not become waste, and this requires very urgent action and collaboration.
“As leading manufacturers, we recognise our obligation to contribute towards ensuring a safer and healthier environment and preserving the future for the generations to come. This cleanup exercise not only reflects our commitment to this objective but is also a great opportunity to drive progress in our immediate communities and beyond.”
The event culminated in the launch of a recycling bank at the Elegushi Beach constructed by NBC. This is in line with the commitment by the company to bring recycling closer to the communities, while driving economic inclusion of women. Being a major convergence point for fun seekers, the recycling bank is expected to raise awareness in the community on responsible disposal of wastes, especially plastics, while empowering vulnerable women in the community economically.
The Recycling Bank at the Elegushi is one of the seven recently constructed by NBC in partnership with MEDIC. This brings the total number of Recycling Banks constructed by the Coca-Cola System to 22 in Lagos and Abuja.
Managing Director of Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Ibrahim Odumboni, commended NBC for its efforts, noting that these initiatives would go a long way to reduce the impact of environmental hazards plaguing the coastal community.
“I appreciate the remarkable role NBC plays in supporting the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) to press for progress. It has also allowed us at LAWMA to create a value chain with the support of LASEPA, Ministry of Environment and other partners,” he added.
Similarly, General Manager of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, said: “The planet is ours to plough; the environment is ours to preserve. Corporate organisations, particularly within the manufacturing sector, must take a cue from NBC’s leadership and commitment to rid our environment of waste. Let us take the same message to our households and our communities.”