'Shared values' lay ground for new growth model

Updated: 2016-09-08 chinadaily.com.cn

Coca-Cola's Zhang Jiantao offers insights on global economic issues at B20 

Zhang Jiantao, Vice President of Coca-Cola Greater China & Korea, on behalf of Coca-Cola Co, attended the recent Business 20 (B20) Summit held in Hangzhou, China. As one of the key partners in the business circle, Coca-Cola will continue to join hands with a variety of partners in China to create greater value for social progress under the "Shared Value" concept and model.

B20 is one of the world's top business summits that engage the biggest number of countries and have the largest influence on the global economy. It's also a key prelude to the G20 Summit. This year's B20 discussed the new corporate growth models in the current global economic trend under the G20 theme of "Towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy." During the summit, participants also had face-to-face communications around the four key agendas, namely "Breaking a New Path for Growth," "More Effective and Efficient Global Economic and Financial Governance," "Robust International Trade and Investment," and "Inclusive and Interconnected Development."

Coca-Cola always attaches great importance to "Breaking a New Path for Growth", one of B20's four key agendas. Zhang Jiantao said, "We have long been thinking about the interdependencies between businesses and social environment. Thanks to our continuous efforts, we have found a viable sustainability path: we must clearly understand the social needs while leveraging on our own business advantage to collaborate with reliable partners under the same values. The goal is to maximize contribution from the corporate side to the society."

The Water Replenishment Program is an excellent example that reflects the "Shared Values". Coca-Cola endeavors to join hands with governments and civil organizations to address social and environmental issues. As an active advocate of water resource conservation, Coca-Cola launched its "Golden Triangle" partnership in China in 2007, by synchronizing the strengths and resources of various government agencies and partners, including the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Commerce, UNDP and WWF to propel about 20 water resource management and protection projects in China. Coca-Cola has implemented the water stewardship programs covering major river basins in China including the Yangtze River, Yellow River, HaiheRiver, Pearl River and SonghuaRiver. These projects played an active role in boosting the water use efficiency in agricultural production, improving the natural environment, and facilitating changes of national policies in water resource conservation. Coca-Cola achieved the goal of 100 percent water replenishment in China in 2014, and recently Coca-Cola announced that it had met the global 100 percent water replenishment target five years ahead of schedule.

Zhang Jiantao admitted that many companies still consider CSR or sustainable development as a cost. "We are exploring ways to boost the relevance between sustainability and business development with an aim to make projects sustainable and also profitable for the company."

Coca-Cola's Reclaimed Water Reuse Project could offer valuable experience. In May 2013, the Shanghai Shenmei Beverage Co., Ltd. successfully managed to supply reclaimed water, which underwent the recycling process to meet quality standards, to the neighboring plants. The reclaimed water was used for cooling, landscape irrigation, and car/toilet washing. This is a win-win water solution practice, which users obtain the water at a lower cost while suppliers get income from selling the "reclaimed water" and also save the sewage discharge cost. Zhang Jiantao believes that sustainable development is a system that is able to help companies create shared values for the society.

Innovation is also essential while realizing "shared values". In Coca-Cola "Clean Water Project", innovation is reflected in all aspects such as technology, marketing and system building. Coca-Cola China collaborates with One Foundation to provide water purifiers to rural schools with inadequate drinking water supplies. But it's a global challenge to maintain the equipment in a sustainable manner in any clean water project. When the Clean Water Project was launched, engineers had to conduct on-site check of the purifiers on a regular basis. To relieve the burden, Coca-Cola and One Foundation jointly developed a plan to integrate the smart information transfer functions via the Internet of Things technology into every single purifier to facilitate remote monitoring.

Zhang Jiantao said, "Promoting economic development and fostering corporate growth actually go hand in hand. China is one of the most important and fastest-growing markets for Coca-Cola globally. Coca-Cola strives to respect social needs and adopts the shared values between businesses and the society. We aim at creating sustainable values for the society, which will in turn bring more positive returns to our business. Under the model of shared values, we will together work with our partners to promote the overall social progress and look for more innovative economic growth models."