Today we revert to the Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja last week. We attended a session entitled ‘Powering economic transformation in businesses through sustainability: the Coca-Cola story”. In 2016 Coca-Cola was ranked the world sustainability leader in the beverage industry for the third consecutive year in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The beverage company has invested about US$9.3m in community and youth development as well as water stewardship across states within Nigeria.
- In partnership with Nigeria Bottling Company, Coca-Cola has been committed to investing in communities across Nigeria. Collectively both companies have nine plants, 14 depots, 1,000 suppliers (90% of which are SMEs) and over 3,000 direct employees.
- There are multiple initiatives that have been rolled out by the company to drive sustainable growth across the country. An example can be seen in its Lagos Iconic Kiosk, which is in partnership with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
- Through this initiative, women at the bottom of the pyramid are trained in basic retail skills and given seed stocks to launch their kiosks. About 1,000 women have been empowered in Lagos. The aim is to empower 100,000 by 2020.
- This initiative is strongly linked to the broader strategy of empowering women financially, as it makes possible their increased investment in child nutrition, health and education. It is thereby equipping the future workforce.
- There have also been investments in the health sector to support sustainable growth. The company’s safe birth initiative has injected US$10.8m into Nigeria’s health sector to secure medical equipment. There are 15 hospitals that will receive this equipment (ante-natal equipment inclusive) over the next two years.
- During the session, Justice Derefaka, a representative of the Nigerian gas flare commercialisation project, explained how businesses could scale up by utilising clean energy from flared gas. This releases funds for other projects including corporate responsibility initiatives.
- Based on his remarks, only 12.5% of Nigeria’s population have access to power (for both business and household purposes). The untapped flared gas potential is about 324bcf (approximately 888mmscf/day). This translates into 3,000MW of energy generation.
- The long-term benefit of the Coca-Cola (and similar) initiatives should be to improve the earning capacity of Nigerians, resulting in a pick-up in purchasing power and therefore a boost to product consumption across different income levels.