14 Jul 11 Coca-Cola South Africa opens green Valpré plant and launches innovative PlantBottle in Africa
Coca-Cola South Africa has announced the opening of its new Valpré Spring Water plant at Heidelberg, southeast of Johannesburg, and the introduction of PlantBottle packaging to Africa. The new state-of-the-art facility is claimed by the company as the “greenest plant in Africa”.
Selected for its close proximity to markets and distribution sites in Gauteng and a similar source water profile as Valpré’s in KZN, the new plant will help Coca-Cola South Africa meet the needs of the increasing demand for bottled water in the country.
Keynote speaker, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Bomo Molewa said at the opening: “The opening of the new Valpré plant in Heidelberg, and the launch of PlantBottle, supports government’s mandate to create infrastructure, develop skills, increase the number of woman in the workforce and ensure sustainable development with a focus on minimizing the impact on the environment. It is a notable example of the kind of development that we encourage all South African industries to adopt.”
The new Valpré plant is undergoing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification – an internationally recognized program that is the accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The design of facility maximizes recycled materials and makes optimal use of water and solar energy. It has a “zero to landfill” target.
The company has also launched Coca-Cola’s innovative PlantBottle packaging, the first-ever recyclable PET plastic beverage bottle made from up to 30 percent plant that is 100 percent recyclable. This is the 10th market to launch the bottle in the world and the first in Africa.
PlantBottle has a lighter footprint on the environment due to its reduced dependence on non-renewables such as petroleum. By the end of 2010 (in two years since its introduction in the United States), more than 2,5 billion PlantBottle packages had been produced, eliminating the equivalent of approximately 60 000 barrels of oil from Coke’s plastic bottles.
South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) executive director, Charlotte Metcalf, said both the plant and new bottle significantly advance the bottling industry’s ‘green’ strategy: “With the new Heidelberg plant, Valpré will reduce its carbon footprint, lower its water usage ratio, adopt energy efficient lighting and production technologies, and boost its solid waste recovery – all while providing its market with a sustainable product packaged in a bottle that takes a giant step towards using renewable resource.”
Coca-Cola South Africa President Bill Egbe stated: “When we set out in 2009 to build this state-of-the art plant, we did so with the goal of ensuring that the plant reinforced all that The Coca-Cola Company and Valpré Spring Water stand for… unwavering quality and commitment to the sustainability of our environment and communities.”
In addition to the environmental aspects of the plant and the new PlantBottle, the Heidelberg plant is run by a team of black women operators. This reinforces Coca-Cola’s commitment to positively impact the communities in which it operates. In 2010c, Muhtar Kent, hairman and CEO of Coca-Cola announced the company’s “5 BY 20” pledge which aims to empower five million women by 2020 through the Coca-Cola system. This is one of several programmes in South Africa to meet this challenge.
“There is no other brand in Coca-Cola South Africa’s portfolio of 30 still and sparkling beverages better suited to represent sustainability and quality than Valpré. It is one of the most highly respected water brands in the world. In May 2011, Valpré was awarded the “Gold Quality” label by Monde Selection, an International Institute for Quality Selections. This is the first time a water brand (premium or mainstream) has received this prestigious award, demonstrating the brand’s high quality standards,” says Coca-Cola.