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Coca-Cola to increase investment in Bangladesh CSR

Deepak Jolly, vice president, public affairs and communications of Coca-Cola India and South West Asia

Deepak Jolly, vice president, public affairs and communications of Coca-Cola India and South West Asia

Global soft drink giant Coca-Cola has pledged to increase its investment in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme as much as its business grows in Bangladesh.

“Our business is small here. We will be growing bigger. With the growing of business, we will invest (in CSR) for the community requirement and demand,” Deepak Jolly, vice president, public affairs and communications of Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, told the FE in an interview recently.

Mr Deepak Jolly was in Dhaka to visit some of the CSR projects of Coca-Cola to see how its investment really helps the community.

Acquainting itself as the second largest market player in the local beverage market, another high official of Coca-Cola earlier said that it will invest $50 million as the foreign direct investment (FDI) here to set up a new manufacturing plant within 2015, significantly increasing its production capacity.

Currently, it operates its business in Bangladesh through two local bottling entities.

“Responsible business widens better future. And we will do whatever goes to build better community,” Mr Jolly said.

“Philosophy of Coca-Cola is that if you want the company to progress, the community around your work place should be happy. So, we always take programmes for the community across the world,” Mr Jolly said.

Coca-Cola’s CSR programme is in the field of education, health and environment.

As part of its CSR, he highlighted a major initiative of the company “Support My School (SMS)” programme, which is run at different schools in Bangladesh; it is being implemented by Plan Bangladesh, a non-government organisation (NGO).

Under the SMS programme, he said, Coca-Cola developed the schools’ water and sanitation system, built or furnished a school room as library and made sports materials available at the playground for the students.

Healthy sanitation mainly aims to keep the girls students at schools; quoting a survey, he said that due to unhealthy condition of toilet at schools, many girl children may go home after two classes and not come back as their houses are far away.

He further said that the library helps the students to grow their reading habit; these three elements – sanitation, library and playground — are really critical for a school.

“Till now, we made those three main facilities available at 83 schools. Our plan is to touch 100 schools within this year under the ongoing SMS programme,” Mr Jolly said.

Terming the five-year Support My School programme in India as a unique model as the company connected over 100 other public and private partners to the initiative, Mr Jolly said that Coca-Cola wants to take its SMS programme in Bangladesh to such a level.

CocaCola always works in partnership with other companies to implement the CSR programme.

Different companies are doing different aspects; but we feel that water is very close to our company; so, we must do on water component very well, he added.

In partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) is also implementing the “Every Drop Matters (EDM)” programme.

EDM builds wash-basins and toilets, recharges the ground water and builds rain water harvesting projects, giving the students of different schools and its surrounding communities improved access to drinking water and sanitation facilities.

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Report: Mohammad Ali

Source: Financial Express

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