As a freelancer, I write about events from the around the world and unfortunately, I am unable to attend many of these events in person. However, on Oct. 1, I was able to watch and participate in a live, interactive facility tour from Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE). CCE’s state-of-the-art production facility in Bellevue, Wash., was the focus of this online event.

CCE held the event as part of its “CRS in ActionWeek.” More than 70,000 company employees from around the world focused on CCE’s corporate responsibility and sustainability goals. The event was hosted by CCE Chief Executive Officer John Brock, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications John Downs and two other CCE decision makers.

The live event featured three videos about the Bellevue facility. Video topics included water stewardship, energy conservation, and sustainable packaging and recycling. The water stewardship video focused on CCE’s goal of creating a water sustainable operation that is also water-neutral.

When CCE began measuring its water usage in 2005, the company was at a 1.95-liter ratio. In other words, for every liter of bottled drink the company made, it used 1.95 liters of water. In the past four years, the company has managed to get this down to a 1.73-liter ratio with some operations in Europe close to a 1.3-liter ratio.

The Bellevue, Wash., facility, which was the featured facility during the presentation, is currently at a 1.45-liter ratio. Prior to the introduction of a water reclamation system in April, the facility was at a 1.75 ratio. The facility’s water reclamation advances will help continue to drive down this figure.

The introduction of water replenishment programs will also help CCE in getting to a 1:1 ratio. The company is currently focusing on rainwater harvesting efforts in the communities where it operates as well as the installation of rain gardens in production facilities and sales centers.

The second video shown during the facility tour broadcast focused on the energy conservation efforts in place at the Bellevue plant. As with most companies that are trying to reduce their energy use and costs, Coca-Cola Enterprises installed energy efficient lighting with motion detection. The new lighting has led to a 10 percent reduction of energy use in production areas and a 50 percent reduction of energy use in the warehouse.

In addition to the upgraded lighting, the company also employs a fleet of hybrid trucks, which cuts down on its overall carbon footprint. Out of the 95 delivery vehicles in CCE’s Bellevue fleet, 12 are hybrid, including the use of hybrid tractor-trailers.

The hybrid tractor-trailer is the largest hybrid truck on the road in North America. The hybrid truck realizes a more than 30 percent reduction in emissions when compared to a similar, non-hybrid truck.

The vending machines used by CCE are also a noticeable contributor to the company’s overall carbon emissions. New technology has allowed CCE to implement motion sensors, much like those used in the energy-efficient lighting systems, to control the lights and temperature on vending machines. The sensors detect foot traffic in the area and manage both the machine’s light and temperature systems based on traffic.

During the live question and answer session that followed the energy efficiency video, I asked if there were any real-time energy usage statistics available. While there are no statistics available now, the piloted programs used in several of the plants allowed CCE to identify many places that energy was being used that were previously thought to not use energy. Based on these pilot programs, CCE has plans to make real-time usage statistics available in the future.

The final video shown during the tour focused on Coca-Cola Enterprises’ recycling and sustainable packaging efforts. CCE has some great recycling figures coming out of its Bellevue plant and the company has created a company-wide recycling contest in which the winning facility is awarded with the Zero the dog traveling trophy. I’ll be writing more about the Bellevue facility’s recycling efforts and the CCE Lead Dog Award in a follow-up post.

While the status of the national and worldwide economies is in flux, CCE has continued its CRS activities as part of its overall Commitment 2020 program. The company’s CRS program focuses on five key areas: Energy Conservation/Climate Change, Water Stewardship, Sustainable Packaging/Recycling, Product Portfolio/Well-Being, and Diverse and Inclusive Culture. For more information on CCE’s CRS program, visit the CCE Commitment 2020 website.

CCE hosts virtual facility tour
On October 1, Coca-Cola Enterprises hosted a virtual facility tour for its state of the art Bellevue, Washington production center.