Zero carbs diet for Coca-Cola in the Netherlands


Fans of sticky, fizzy beverages are still divided on the likability of the absence of carbs in their drinks. Cutting the carbs that go into the making of Coca-Cola should prove a much less contentious topic.

Dongen, a small village 100 km south of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, hosts Coca-Cola's Dutch beverage factory, supplying 85% of its liquids to the country. Over the next two years, the factory is slated for carbon neutrality, in line with the Coca-Cola European Partners' pledge to become CO2-neutral by 2040. Dongen would be the sixth site out of the 47 Coca-Cola operates in Europe to achieve that.

To this end, Dutch power utility Eneco has entered into a partnership with the fizzy drinks maker to supply local renewable energy from the de Wildert solar project, which is currently being constructed just 300 meters away from the factory. The 13 MW plant will be ready to supply power by 2022, the company said. The solar park has been constructed to provide several industrial off-takers directly in the plant's proximity, Eneco added. Additionally, power will also come from the municipality-owned 14 MW de Spinder wind power plant.

“Coca-Cola European Partners aims to be climate neutral and to use local energy sources,” Hans Peters, chief customer officer at Eneco, said. “It's a great ambition to which we at Eneco are delighted to be able to contribute. With the delivery of solar and wind power from the immediate vicinity of Dongen, we are taking important steps together towards a carbon neutral production location. Moreover, a portion of this wind power will remain available for local residents. It's a partnership to be proud of.”

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Coca-Cola received renewable power from Eneco before but will need a top-up on the back of swapping its gas-powered equipment for electrical appliances. Vehicles such as forklifts and road sweepers on the factory grounds have been changed for electric-powered models. Factory management is replacing gas-powered heating equipment with full electric heat pumps and swapping the old gas shrink furnace for an electric furnace to shave off those last carbs.

“It is vital that we continue to invest in sustainability, particularly in these times,” Jaap Wassink, vice president and country director of Coca-Cola European Partners Nederland, said. “We are committed to emerging from this crisis stronger, and reducing our environmental impact continues to be one of the most important challenges confronting our company.”

Beverage companies have been frequent customers of renewable energy lately. A number of beer breweries in Europe and around the world have decided to develop solar and sometimes even sizeable storage projects on their factory sites or entered into corporate PPA supply deals.

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