Scottish First Minister visits local soft drinks factory

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has announced that it will be investing £6m in its Scottish operations this year as the business welcomed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to its manufacturing site in East Kilbride.

A total of £16m has been invested by CCE at the factory over the past five years, which last year celebrated its 50th anniversary.

During her tour, Ms Sturgeon was shown part of the latest £6m injection in action, with a demonstration of a new advanced robotic palletiser. A first for the Scottish site, the machinery automatically stacks cases and runs at much higher line speeds of 14,000 bottles per hour (bph), with the ability to increase to 18,000-20,000 bph.

During her tour, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon Sturgeon was shown part of the latest £6m injection in action
During her tour, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon Sturgeon was shown part of the latest £6m injection in action.

With the robotic palletiser helping to improve operating and energy efficiency at the East Kilbride factory, other investments due at the site this year include a new water treatment facility.

Joined by vice president and general manager of CCE GB, Leendert den Hollander, and Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola GB and Ireland, the First Minister also had the opportunity to speak with several members of local staff and three of the site’s apprentices.

During the visit, CCE confirmed its support for the Scottish Business Pledge, a nine-point voluntary pledge by companies within Scotland focused on boosting productivity, competitiveness and fair work.

Speaking with the First Minister, den Hollander outlined CCE’s commitments on paying the Living Wage; investing in youth; creating innovation, and its journey towards a balanced workforce.

CCE has also declared its support for the Scottish Government’s Supporting Healthy Choices (SHC) initiative. The voluntary framework, in collaboration with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Scotland aims to work with industry partners to address dietary concerns and health inequalities within the country.

CCE’s support of the initiative includes:

  • The introduction of the government’s preferred coloured front of pack labelling scheme
  • The reformulation of many of its brands and the introduction of  smaller pack sizes
  • The launch of Park Lives in Glasgow this year as part of Coca-Cola’s commitment to invest £20m to get 1m UK people active by 2020

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon commented: “It’s fantastic that Coca-Cola is dedicated to supporting manufacturing in the area and also to supporting their staff – I am pleased to announce that they will now become the 50th business in Scotland to sign up to the Scottish Business Pledge.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon meets local staff at CCE's East Kilbride factory.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon meets local staff at CCE’s East Kilbride factory.

“A skilled and innovative workforce is a key asset for any business and can help to improve productivity. Fair work and innovation make our economy even more competitive, which in turn brings benefits to individuals and communities across the whole of the country. Prosperity and fairness are at the heart of our distinctive Scottish approach to growing the economy.”

Den Hollander said: “With a legacy within the region of more than 50 years, we remain focused on delivering manufacturing excellence and are proud to have welcomed the First Minister to see first-hand the world class on-site innovation which this most recent investment supports.

“We are proud of our status as a local business in all the communities where we operate, and our support of important initiatives such as the Scottish Business Pledge is crucial to this.”

Woods added: “Like the Scottish Government, we recognise obesity is a serious and complex problem influenced by many factors, but we are taking action to help our consumers lead healthy lives.

“We have reformulated many of our drinks; introduced smaller packs; are increasing our marketing investment in the no sugar, no calorie variants of Coca-Cola, and are investing in community-based physical activity programmes to get one million Britons more active.”