Coca-Cola: Refreshing innovation from Brabant

Coca-Cola has been present in the Dutch province of Brabant since the 1950s, boosting the local economy with close to 800 jobs. Its production site in Dongen continues to innovate for the refreshment of Dutch consumers and the protection of the environment every day.

Dongen in Brabant was once one of five production centers for Coca-Cola in the Netherlands but today it is the sole location servicing the entire Dutch market.  Coca-Cola European Partners Nederland (CCEP) sold 544 million liters of soda drinks to Dutch consumers in 2015. 85% of this was produced in Dongen thanks to local employee expertise and ingredients. Dongen delivers an ever-expanding range of products - including several famous soda brands - offered by CCEP to the Dutch market.

CCEP has invested €90 million over the past three years to upgrade the production lines in Dongen. As a result, Dongen is now one of Europe’s most technically sophisticated production sites. 2013 saw the opening of a new automated warehouse that drastically reduced transport to external warehouses. And 2015 saw the introduction of a new glass production line and a ‘re-pack’ line that together increased the flexibility and efficiency of the Dongen site. To celebrate these investments and innovations, Coca-Cola opened its doors to the public during a four-day long event in June 2016, welcoming over 7,000 visitors, including Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte.

"From the very beginning, the province of Brabant, the local municipality and BOM Foreign Investments have done everything they could to help us grow our business here." Rein De Jong - Coca-Cola

The facility in Dongen sits virtually on top of Coca-Cola’s most important ingredient – water! This source is “mineral water of the purest variety”, according to Dongen’s Supply Chain Director, Rein De Jong. "We are naturally very sparing when it comes to water,” explains De Jong. “During water extraction, we comply with the strictest environmental requirements. Everything possible is undertaken to combat pollution, prevent the source from running dry and ensure the natural development of the soil is left undisturbed. We are extremely proud to have been awarded the European Water Stewardship Golden Certificate. This is great recognition for our long standing commitment to sustainable water management.”

Collaboration and research are prominent features in Brabant’s DNA and Coca-Cola’s participation in joint projects continues to drive forward environmental advancements in the region and beyond. One such project is the construction of a joint waste water treatment plant (WWTP) – the first of its kind in the Netherlands. Coca-Cola together with FUJIFILM, International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF Netherlands) Agristo, Cofely and De Dommel Water Board will “pool” their waste water streams in Tilburg to reduce consumption and enable the redeployment of high quality water back into the city.

“In Dongen, we have reduced energy consumption by almost 50 per cent since 2005, and thanks to the application of ever-thinner PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles, we are making further environmental gains. " Rein de Jong - Coca-Cola

"From the very beginning, the province of Brabant, the local municipality and BOM Foreign Investments have done everything they could to help us grow our business here," adds De Jong. "They are important partners to us when it comes to finding the right people as well as connecting us to the right networks in the region to enhance our continuous innovation. These are critical as we strive to achieve the environmental goals we have set ourselves with our fullest conviction."

Coca-Cola continues to be a global leader in the area of sustainable business practices and expertise and Dongen has played a key role in helping to decrease the consumption of water per liter of product. "We are committed to running a sustainable business around the globe, and the Netherlands is no exception,” explains De Jong. “In Dongen, we have reduced energy consumption by almost 50 per cent since 2005, and thanks to the application of ever-thinner PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles, we are making further environmental gains. And last but not least, here in Dongen we are constantly investigating the possibility of increasingly sustainable energy applications."

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