Coca-Cola pledges 25% reusable packaging as Q4 sales tops pre-pandemic levels 

USA – Atlanta-based multinational beverage company Coca-Cola said it will aim for 25% of its packaging globally to be reusable by 2030 as part of efforts to reduce worldwide plastic pollution. 

Coca-Cola is a top target for consumer, investor, and environmental groups concerned about petroleum-based plastic single-use bottles clogging oceans, among other problems. 

The company was the world’s worst plastic polluter for the fourth year in a row in 2021, according to the global coalition Break Free From Plastic’s annual report released in October. 

A shift to reusable packaging has been hailed by environmental groups who have called out the soft-drink maker for its contribution to the global plastic waste problem. 

Reusable packaging includes containers that can be refilled with original product by companies or consumers, such as refillable fountain drink containers and glass and plastic bottles that are refillable or returnable, the cola maker said. 

If Coca-Cola hits its new goal, it will be “easier to achieve our objectives of a World Without Waste, where we intend to collect back a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030,” Chief Executive Officer James Quincey said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings. 

Q4 Earnings top pre-pandemic levels  

Coca-Cola recently released quarterly earnings and revenue beat analysts’ expectations as consumers drank more of the company’s products away from home. 

The owner of Sprite and Fanta drinks reported a net income of US$2.41 billion, or 56 cents per share, for the quarter, up from US$1.46 billion, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier. 

Net sales for the Atlanta-based beverage giant rose 10% to US$9.46 billion, topping expectations of US$8.96 billion.  

Coca-cola however said that quarter four’s revenue was hurt by six fewer days than the prior year and the timing of concentrate shipments, according to the company. 

Organic revenue, which strips out the impact of acquisitions and divestitures, however, jumped 9% in the quarter. Unit case volume also rose 9%. 

Coke’s sparkling soft drinks segment, which includes its namesake soda, saw volume grow 8% in the quarter.  

Coke Zero Sugar saw double-digit growth while the company’s hydration, sports drinks, coffee, and tea division saw 12% volume growth in the quarter.  

Sports drinks saw the highest spike in volume changes, driven by its recent Bodyarmor acquisition.  

Coffee saw the second-highest surge, growing 17% as Coke reopened Costa cafes in the United Kingdom. 

For 2022, Coke is expecting comparable earnings per share growth of 5% to 6%, while Wall Street analysts were forecasting 6.1% growth.  

It expects higher commodity costs to hit earnings by mid-single digits and is also predicting organic revenue growth of 7% to 8% for the full year.

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