In Ambitious Eco-Friendly Push, Sponsor Big Red Vows to Produce Zero Waste During the Vancouver Games
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- When the Vancouver Olympic Games kick off on Feb. 12, visitors will find café furniture made from pine-beetle-salvaged wood, drink out of bottles made from 30% plant-based materials, and their beverages will be delivered via hybrid vehicles and electric cart. All are elements of Coca-Cola's first zero-waste, carbon-neutral sponsorship.
The effort has been years in the making, beginning with a relatively simple recycling effort for the Athens Olympic Games in 2000. Since then the company has layered in additional elements, like environmentally friendly coolers and shirts made out of plastic bottles.
"The world is evolving. The focus of the consumer is also changing," said Thierry Borra, Coca-Cola's director-Olympic Games management. "One thing that we know from the research is that sustainability is important to all of our customers and consumers. It has an impact on how consumers are perceiving our brand."
While corporate sponsors and event producers have been incorporating more eco-friendly elements in the last couple of years, Coca-Cola is one of the first major marketers to embark on a zero-waste, carbon-neutral sponsorship of an event as complex as the Olympic Games.
"It's aggressive for them to do it today and not set it as some future mission," said Andrew Winston, a sustainability consultant working on the U.S. bid for the World Cup and author of two books on green business. "The standard for what is expected of a sponsor or partner at a big event is rising pretty fast. This will definitely raise the bar."
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