Our people and communities




Mission 2025 sustainability commitments

  • Target zero fatalities among our workforce and reduce (lost time) accident rate by 50% vs. 2017;
  • 50% of manager positions will be held by women;
  • 10% community participants will join first-time managers’ development programmes;
  • Train one million young people through #YouthEmpowered;
  • Engage in 20 Zero Waste partnerships (city and/or coast);
  • 10% of employees will take part in volunteering initiatives.



We have strong and diverse brands that are part of our unique history but our secret ingredient for success is our people.

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The foundations of the behaviours that enable a diverse and inclusive culture can be found in our Inclusion and Diversity Policy, our Code of Business Conduct and our Human Rights Policy.

We’re bringing those policies to life by leading from the top and through multiple initiatives. In 2019, our CEO signed the LEAD Network Europe pledge to accelerate gender diversity and inclusion. We are also dedicated to achieving full gender balance in managerial positions as one of our six beacon sustainability commitments for 2025. Achieving this balance requires a strong female leadership pipeline and we have reviewed our talent management processes in order to promote diversity in hiring. Over half of our Management Trainees are now women. We need an environment that allows women and men to thrive, and that includes an increasing number of support networks in our countries to allow women to share their experiences.

We’ve established a Diversity and Inclusion Council to help direct our work, run a communications campaign to promote awareness and understanding, and launched a learning programme for leaders, helping them understand how their behaviours may impact the sense of safety in their teams and how to encourage individuals to speak up and feel heard. In 2020, our work will continue with renewed focus on ensuring that diversity and inclusion are promoted as the right thing to do for our people and our business.

Respect for human rights is fundamental to the sustainability of Coca Cola HBC and the communities in which we operate. We are committed to ensuring that people are treated with dignity and respect.

Our Human Rights Policy is guided by international human rights principles, such as the International Labour Organisation’s international labour standards and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (also known as the Ruggie Framework), and covers diversity, collective bargaining and workplace security. Our Supplier Guiding Principles are also aligned with our Human Rights Policy and we expect our partners to respect the same workplace values as we do.

Regular reviews ensure that we adhere to all applicable laws and regulations, our Code of Business Conduct and internal standards. Certification on a regular basis confirms that we are in legal compliance, processes are well implemented, targets are set and reached, and reporting is timely and accurate. In addition, we have a well-publicised whistleblower system in place, with all cases investigated.

Among other activities, in 2019, we held a cross-functional workshop on Human Rights, with external speakers, as part of our drive to ensure that we continue our collaboration across functions in this vitally important area.

The health and safety of our people and contractors is managed as a key priority, with emphasis placed on the critical importance of ensuring the well-being of everyone at our workplaces.

As part of our Mission 2025 sustainability commitments, we target zero work-related fatalities (every year) and our goal is to reduce lost time accidents per 100 FTE by 50% by 2025 vs. the 2017 baseline.

Our fleet safety training programmes aim to improve safety for all drivers within the Group. The blend of online, classroom and on-the-road training elements is adjusted for different groups, reflecting their relative risk classification. To reduce the number of road accidents, we have continued installing collision avoidance technology in fleet vehicles.

While we have made great progress, we are determined to do even more to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our people. In 2019, we extended our behaviour-based safety programme to 53 manufacturing plants and 51 warehouses.

As part of our responsibility towards the health and wellness of our employees, we have developed a framework for health and dependent care and offer a range of flexible working arrangements.

Health and Dependent Care

Our Health and Dependent Care Framework was designed to address the wellbeing needs of our employees. This framework provides our countries with the structure and flexibility required in order to offer benefits above statutory requirements while taking local demands into account.

Our Health Care initiatives fall under three pillars (medical plans, targeted health programmes and paid sick leave) and may include medical and health insurance benefits, preventative measures such as vaccination programmes and medical check-ups, gym facilities or subsidized gym memberships and nutrition information.

Our Dependent Care initiatives also fall under three pillars (carer’s leave, subsidies and development) and may include maternity and paternity leave in excess of the legally required minimum, subsidies for kindergarten or school activities, school supplies, family events and career days. The amount of additional leave and/or additional pay for maternity and paternity leave varies among our countries. In Switzerland, two additional weeks of paid maternity leave and four additional days of paternity leave are offered. In Ireland and the UK, statutory minimum maternity pay is supplemented to provide 10 weeks of full pay and up to 18 weeks of half pay of the employee’s annual base salary while for paternity leave the Company contributes to statutory paternity pay for the 1st week of leave so that the employee is fully paid. A further three days of paid maternity and paternity leave are offered to our employees in Cyprus, Greece and the Ukraine.

Our approach to wellbeing exemplifies our values while supporting our employees and allowing them to thrive.

Flexible working arrangements

We define flexible working as flexibility on when, where and how work is done. Across the company, we promote the use of flexible working while we support the delivery of our business strategy.

Our approach is founded on the principle that flexible working is a win-win model for employees as well as for our business. We believe that flexible working arrangements are a partnership between manager and employee. Managers trust employees to make it work and employees know they are trusted to deliver high performance. Our framework allows employees to sustain energy, be more productive and help grow our company, with over a quarter of our total workforce covered by flexible working.

The forms of flexible working offered include:

  • Flex time: Employees vary their start and finish times
  • Remote work: Flexibility in where employees perform their job, e.g.., from home
  • Part-time work: Employees work fewer hours than the standard working hours
  • Compressed working: Employees work standard hours across fewer days



Global alignment

Over the years, our community investments have evolved from standalone philanthropic initiatives to long-term, group-wide programmes closely linked to our business priorities and material issues. We took steps to align our community agenda with The Coca Cola Company’s global priorities and initiatives. The size and reach of the Coca Cola System has unique advantages in helping to address global challenges, including those in scope of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

While we continue to work on issues of local relevance in specific markets, we have prioritised three programme areas that are of critical importance across all of our 28 countries of operation:

  • empowering youth and women;
  • achieving a World Without Waste;
  • water stewardship initiatives.

We have introduced country-level guidelines for community spending. Going forward, our markets will allocate their community budgets to reflect our programme priorities with 40% directed to youth empowerment programmes, 30% to waste management, 20% to water stewardship and 10% allocated for local initiatives. Our overall spending – €10.6 million in 2019 – shows that we allocated 31% on youth, 18% on waste, 33% on water, and 18% on local programmes out of the total community investment. Five of our 17 new commitments for 2025 help to drive progress in the three prioritised programme areas of our updated community strategy:

  • train one million young people through #YouthEmpowered;
  • engage in 20 Zero Waste partnerships (city and/or coast);
  • help secure water availability for all our communities in water-risk areas;
  • have 10% community participants in first-time managers’ development programmes;
  • have 10% of employees take part in volunteering initiatives.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Our community initiatives contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our initiatives to empower youth and women contribute to the goals for quality education, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, and partnerships.

Our initiatives regarding water stewardship and waste reduction aid global progress toward the SDGs for clean water and sanitation, and climate action. Wellbeing related initiatives, such as the installation of walking trails, help advance the global objectives of good health and wellbeing, and support sustainable cities and communities.

Through our flagship programme #YouthEmpowered, we have been tackling one of the most relevant societal issues in many of our markets, i.e. the employability of young people. Since introducing #YouthEmpowered in 2017, we have rolled out this programme to nearly all of our markets.

Markets with specific employment challenges, such as Greece, Italy and Bosnia-Herzegovina, create particular challenges for young people who are not in employment, education or training. In other countries with labour shortages, young people may enter the labour market without the necessary business or soft skills.

Since the launch, more than 203,800 young people have participated in #YouthEmpowered programmes and our goal is to reach 1 million participants by 2025. More than 750 of our people became mentors through the initiative and we partnered with more than 380 local nongovernmental organisations. The #YouthEmpowered programme offers in-person and online training to help young people develop business acumen and personal life skills. In addition to this comprehensive training, we offer mentoring sessions alongside Coca Cola HBC senior managers. As a result, programme participants are able to build professional and personal networks.

We tailor our approach to address specific needs and leverage collaboration with local partners, further strengthening the impact of the programme. In Poland, our new digital profiling test was completed by many young people, helping them understand their strengths and the skills needed for the local job market. In Nigeria, where the youth unemployment rate was approximately 25% in 2018, we held a three-day #YouthEmpowered workshop for more than 1,000 participants from various parts of the country, all seizing the opportunity to work with seasoned professionals. In Greece and Cyprus, we joined forces with our retail partner Metro S.A. and other local and multinational companies to hold a three-day seminar for 250 young people. In Italy, we offered training in soft skills and business skills to more than 200 young people.

As part of our process of aligning initiatives, we also began linking #YouthEmpowered with 5by20, The Coca Cola Company’s global commitment to enable the economic empowerment of five million women entrepreneurs across the Company’s value chain by 2020. In 2018, we undertook efforts to support the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs in countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

While modern packaging offers safety and convenience, the challenges of using plastics in packaging are clear. As part of the Coca‑Cola System’s global World Without Waste framework, we partner with relevant stakeholders and local communities to help achieve a litter-free world by improving waste collection rates and helping change related consumer mindsets. Partnerships are vital because waste collection and recycling infrastructure varies considerably, and we cannot solve this challenge alone. While we are committed to collecting and recycling 75% of the equivalent of every can or bottle we sell, we are also investing in package design and innovative technology for the reduction of packaging content and are exploring packaging-free alternatives for product delivery.

Progress in waste collection

As part of our approach to waste management, we have committed to engage in 20 Zero Waste partnerships either with cities or along coastlines. We piloted this approach under the Zero Waste City brand with the city of Thessaloniki, Greece, and other partners during the year. Based on the first results, we will introduce guidelines in 2019 to facilitate more Zero Waste City partnerships in our markets.

We support 19 packaging waste management schemes across all our markets and we have a Group-wide policy on packaging waste and recycling which provides the framework within which our countries operate. In Russia, the ‘Separate with Us’ project has helped us recover more than 28% of our primary packaging placed in the market.

We also spearheaded initiatives to clean up coastlines. Nearly 100 of our people participated in an Adriatic Coast clean-up activity, collecting a total of 260kg of waste from the islands of Krk in Croatia and Strunjan in Slovenia.

Through a partnership project with the International Ocean Conservancy, more than 400 Coca‑Cola HBC people collected more than 500 bags of litter, or three tonnes of waste, on Ireland’s coast. We also partnered with Centra stores in the heart of coastal communities to encourage consumers to join the Big Beach Clean.

Overall, during 2018, through projects supported by dedicated employee volunteers, we – together with our partners – collected more than 1,400 tonnes of waste on river and sea shores across our territories.

Maintaining the long-term sustainability of the watersheds around our bottling plants is important to our business and to our relationships with local communities.

Our approach to water stewardship begins with a focus on our own water use. We protect the water resources supplying our facilities, reduce the amount of water we use to produce our soft drinks and treat waste water to levels that support aquatic life. We also partner with suppliers to minimise our water footprint across the value chain.

To replenish the water we use and help water access through innovative sustainable technologies, we have a 2025 sustainability commitment to help secure water availability for all our communities in water-risk areas. Using indicators from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature’s Water Risk Filter and Global Water Tool, we have identified 16 of our plants as operating in water-risk areas.

This includes facilities in Nigeria, Russia, Greece, Cyprus and Armenia. Moving forward, we will focus on either water access initiatives or on replenishment activities. For all these, we will seek partnerships with the Coca Cola System, other companies operating in the relevant watershed area and international organisations.

Along with our three key programme areas, we address local issues which have strategic relevance for our business. One example is community wellbeing, which we have supported by offering a rapidly expanding portfolio of low- and no-calorie beverage options.

We continue to support initiatives across our 28 countries to improve community wellbeing and health. We promote active, healthy lifestyles by installing active zones, walking trails and paths, and supporting sports events and social gatherings. As our business and product portfolio evolves, we expect that more of our impact on well-being will come directly from new products that support healthy lifestyles.

In natural disasters or crisis situations, we are often among the first companies supporting emergency services and communities with in-kind or cash contributions. When a series of wildfires erupted in Greece in July 2018, nearly 100 people lost their lives. We supported the survivors in the region by offering our products and refrigerators, donating blood, medicines and other essential items, and by contributing to rebuilding efforts. We supported a range of initiatives sponsored by local municipalities and nongovernmental organisations, and more than 150 of our colleagues volunteered their time to help residents of the affected areas.

We strive for long-term partnerships with nongovernmental organisations, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to maximise the impact of community programmes. In 2018, we co-operated with nearly 400 nongovernmental organisations and non-trade partners, including the International Federation of the Red Cross, the World Wide Fund for Nature, Junior Achievement, Teach for All and the Global Water Partnership.

Beyond our financial investments to address the pressing challenges described above, we enable our people to volunteer a portion of their work hours to support community programmes. This not only positively impacts our communities, but provides learning and development opportunities and supports employee engagement and wellbeing.

Within our Mission 2025 sustainability commitments, we aim to have at least 10% of our employees taking part in volunteering activities during their work time every year and we have a few countries which have committed to having 100% of their employees participate at least 1 day in volunteering initiatives.

Cash contribution €8,515,980
Employee volunteering during paid working hours     €373,211
In-kind €1,384,943
Management overheads    €723,593