Manufacturing milestones supporting the net zero journey

Posted on 23 May 2023 by The Manufacturer

As one of the largest soft drinks supplier in Great Britain, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) is committed to making improvements to its operations to drive carbon reduction. At each of its manufacturing sites, the teams are helping to roll out exciting innovations to keep the company on track towards its net zero journey.

Big and small improvements take place every day, each of which play an important role in reducing our overall emissions. We’ve recently celebrated notable milestones across our factories in GB.

Our journey towards carbon neutral status in GB

At the start of this year, our manufacturing site in Morpeth, Northumberland reached an exciting milestone. It is the first GB factory to become certified as carbon neutral, which means there is no net release of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere as a result of our operations.

Backed by a total investment of £3.5m made into the site since 2017 to improve overall operating efficiency and reduce emissions, the changes made to achieve this status is thanks to the efforts of the Morpeth team. Changes delivered to help reach this landmark included transitioning all warehouse lighting to lower power LED and transitioning the factory’s forklift trucks from Liquefied Petroleum Gas to Lithium-ion electric. Morpeth has also incorporated weekly shutdowns of all service equipment including machines, pumps and motors to ensure no energy is wasted during non-production periods.

Morpeth, like all our other GB sites, has also been powered by 100% renewable electricity for over 10 years. This has resulted in a 47% reduction in our carbon footprint since 2010.

At CCEP, we have an ambition to reach Net Zero by 2040 and reduce our GHG emissions across our value chain by 30% by 2030 (vs. 2019). While the first in GB, Morpeth is one of six CCEP company-wide factories to be certified as carbon neutral. Sites are selected to apply for certification based on their previous carbon reductions and, once certified, will continue to work to reduce emissions year-on-year in line with PAS 2060 requirements.

Innovating production capabilities to introduce attached caps

We’re also taking steps to reduce plastic waste and promote recycling, to help increase the availability of high-quality recycled plastic that we can use in our bottles in future. To do this, we’ve invested in our manufacturing lines to produce more sustainable packaging.

Last year, we became the first major soft drinks producer to introduce attached caps on our plastic bottles, making it easier to recycle the entire bottle and ensure no cap is left behind. Production began at our bottling plant in East Kilbride Scotland in May 2022, followed by our 500ml bottles manufactured at Edmonton, North London last September. Production is also now rolling out from this month at our manufacturing site in Sidcup, South-East London with the intention to have attached caps across our entire range of plastic bottles by the end of 2024.

The innovation of the attached caps lies in the ring around the neck bottle, where a tether has been added to keep the cap attached to the bottle once unscrewed. This lets consumers enjoy their favourite drinks, while ensuring that the lid is recycled together with the bottle.

To introduce these new, innovative caps, modifications needed to be made to our existing production lines in each manufacturing site. Changes to a line’s capper cam, which houses the creation of the cap closures, and to the wheel gripper, which places the cap on the bottle were required to make production of these new caps possible.

The production speed is substantial, with our lines producing around 600 attached caps on the 500ml bottles per minute, and between 300 and 600 on the larger bottles per minute. As an example of volume, as of mid-March 2023, our production line for 500ml bottles at our Edmonton site has produced 72,223,828 bottles since its conversion in September 2022.

The innovation links back to our World Without Waste vision, an ambitious sustainable packaging programme launched by Coca-Cola to help reduce the impact our packaging has on the planet. We’re working towards a goal of zero waste, with all packaging collected, recycled and reused.

We’re on a mission to reduce our impact on the planet, and the changes we’re making to how each of our factories operate and produce new packaging, backed by a total of £282m in investments towards our site since 2017, is helping do exactly that. But our journey is far from over.

Our investment programme will continue to grow into 2023 and beyond, and we’ll keep moving forward to help achieve wider Net Zero, carbon reduction and World Without Waste goals.

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About the author

Javier Sanchez Gandarias is Vice President of Customer Service and Supply Chain Great Britain, at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP). In his role, Javier is responsible for ensuring CCEP’s end-to-end supply chain in GB is robust, reliable and sustainable. He has a wealth of experience in manufacturing and logistics, and a passion for developing diverse and talented teams.

Prior to taking on his current role in January 2021, Javier was based in Madrid as Vice President Supply Chain Strategy and Development for two years, having been with the business for eight years. He originally began his career with Coca-Cola Norbega as an industrial engineer, joining in 1999 in production, and later becoming Technical Director. He led the Madrid plant and became Manufacturing Director for Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, before his appointment as Vice President Supply Chain for Northern Europe when CCEP was created in 2016.

Javier is committed to promoting sustainability within the supply chain, as well as working with suppliers and customers to help them make their operations more environmentally friendly. He’s also a key supporter of CCEP’s JustBe allyship network, driving engagement around CCEP’s ID&E agenda, and a sponsor of its Disability catalyst group