Lean is Eco-Friendly – Coke Shows How

Today’s front page of the Toronto Star (Monday 22-Nov-09) featured an article on Coke’s new Eco-Bottle. The revolutionary plastic made from sugar cane byproducts is not biodegradable but can be 100% recycled.

Are companies beginning to understand how their product or service may be impacting the environment?  Coca Cola has taken corporate leadership to the next level.  For Coca Cola, understanding how the “complete” product affects the environment has driven tangible change to make a difference.

While Coke’s new eco-bottle is welcomed news, environmentally friendly or Eco-Friendly products are only one aspect to consider in terms of impact to the environment.  Other considerations include how and where the product is manufactured and end-of-life disposal.  At least Coke has addressed the end-of-life disposal aspect.

An extension to the manufacturing process is supply chain management from origination to the final consumer.  The transportation required to supply raw materials, produce, package, and distribute the final product  is as much a concern to the environment.

There is as much activity, if not more, in waste management and recycling than in the manufacturing and distribution processes.  Every stage or phase of a product’s life cycle generates waste in various forms.

Waste management companies are subject to the same environmental impacts through their own supply chain and distribution management, the recycling and disposal processes, and packaging of the product whether or recycled or deemed true end item waste.

Coke at least has demonstrated how large companies can take responsibility for the products they sell.  As consumers, we still have to do our part by making sure the bottle makes it to the recycling bin.

When you are the leading softdrink company in the world it follows that if you can’t improve your product then improve the packaging. We’re sure this will be part of a new marketing campaign to promote Coke as an eco-friendly company – and so it should.

From a Lean Manufacturing perspective, Coke has clearly demonstrated that Lean extends to every facet of the business – inside, outside, and beyond.  This is improving relentlessly.

Until Next Time – STAY Lean!

We are not affiliated with Coca Cola, Coke, or it’s products and services.
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