Coca-Cola in Partnership with Vietnam Sustainable Development

9:43:38 AM | 10/12/2018

In more than 24 years in the Vietnamese market, Coca-Cola has always adhered to its sustainable investment strategy. In an interview given to the Vietnam Business Forum Magazine, Coca-Cola Vietnam CEO Sanket Ray emphasised, “By adopting sustainable approaches and with ongoing efforts to contribute to the Vietnam’s Government priorities, not only does Coca-Cola create a solid foundation for success but also brings practical values ​​and better lives for the Vietnamese community.” Thanh Tung reports.

As one of the very first US investors in the Vietnamese market right after the two countries normalised relations, could you please tell us about Coca-Cola’s significant contributions to Vietnam’s socio-economic development?
Coca-Cola Vietnam employed 2,500 full-time workers, plus 6-10 times more of indirect jobs employed by its supply chains as of the end of 2017. Its taxes and fees amounted to VND738.442 billion, including VND92.153 billion of corporate income tax in in 2017. According to the General Department of Taxation, Coca-Cola ranked 73rd on the list of the 1,000 largest taxpayers in 2016.

Socially, Coca-Cola and its partners have launched a variety of practical programmes to create "shared values" based on its four key pillars of the sustainability strategy: Clean water, local women's economic empowerment, community facilities including refined drinking water, and plastic waste management and recycling. One of Coca-Cola's efforts to generate positive changes for Vietnam's economy and society and practical values for community is local women's economic empowerment programmes and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) capacity building support programmes. Specifically, as for local women's economic empowerment through cooperation with the Vietnam Women's Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC) and the Vietnam Women's Union, Coca-Cola launched the online e-learning courses, approached more than 1,300 female participants to share and support business counselling; provided business startup knowledge, and skills, and complete financial plans to assist women to venture new businesses to improve their family incomes, develop the local economy, create jobs and contribute to the socially sustainable development. Assisting SMEs’ capacity building, Coca-Cola invested more than VND2.330 billion and cooperated with the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to build knowledge sharing platforms to enhance the capacity of local resources and focus on SMEs, thus helping improve their capacity in the Digital Age and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

As for EKOCENTER centres (Coca-Cola Global Initiative provides clean water, local women’s economic empowerment, and community facilities including refined drinking water, necessities, internet services, skills training and online education, media services and sports, etc.), Coca-Cola had nine EKOCENTERs in Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Da Nang, Ha Long, Ben Tre, An Giang, Dong Thap, Hue and Ha Tinh as of the beginning of 2018. As for plastic waste management and recycling, Coca-Cola has worked with visionary partners such as Unilever, Dow Chemical Vietnam and VCCI to launch the "Zero Waste to Nature" Initiative to build a "World without Waste".

With practical activities that express good sustainable connections with the country's overall development, the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) 2017 named Coca-Cola as Top 5 Sustainable Enterprises in Vietnam in manufacturing category.

The success of Coca-Cola Vietnam results from extremely creative communication campaigns that leave a deep impression on the community. Could you elaborate on these campaigns as well as their powerful impacts?
To connect people for better mutual understanding, in 2014, Coca-Cola Vietnam launched its "Share A Coke" campaign by printing customer names and emoticons on the bottles. The campaign received very good feedback from customers, especially the youth.

Share a Coke is Coca-Cola's global campaign adapted to Vietnamese consumers' tastes but the Emoji-version Share a Coke campaign was originated from Vietnam and spread to other countries. By tapping into the personality and stimulating curiosity, the brand brought a sense of "I am special" to customers and put them on the finding path. As a result, the campaign enjoyed tremendous success with 18 million views on social media channels, with Coca-Cola Vietnam's fanpage views increasing by 870 per cent. 76,000 models of Coke bottles were created and shared on Facebook. 378,000 Coca-Cola bottles were made with personal names on the bottle. Users had to queue and wait for their names printed on Coke bottles or comb supermarket shelves to find Coke bottles with printed names the same as theirs. From the success of Coca-Cola Vietnam, the idea was replicated globally.

By launching a collection of 41 emoticons expressing various emotions and actions printed on cans and plastic bottles, Coca-Cola helped young people overcome language barriers to freely deliver emotions. Not only appearing on products, emoticons were also present elsewhere, from Zing and Zalo to Facebook, to help the young read newspapers, listen to music and express their moods to make conversations more interesting. In particular, the emotion-sharing video had 1 million views in just 24 hours with millions of comments and shares, ranked among the most-watched and shared videos. With the great success, the “Share a Coke” campaign received seven much-wanted prizes at The Smarties Vietnam Awards on October 30, 2015.

People are always considered essential to the growth of a business. So, since its presence in Vietnam, how has Coca-Cola focused on human resource recruitment and development?
As a sustainable business in Vietnam, Coca-Cola is aware of its responsibility in the overall human resources training and development strategy for the host country. At present, 99 per cent of Coca-Cola employees are Vietnamese and we invest around VND33 billion to recruit and develop human resources in the country each year.

In its human support and development strategy, Coca-Cola's work environment is designed to be a nurturing environment where Vietnamese talents can help create global values through the Comprehensive Compensation System. The company looks to creating employment and training opportunities for employees who can excel in a comfortable and creative environment. In addition, they are also assessed, rewarded and compensated for their performances. The attractive benefits and growth opportunities have created a unique position for Coca-Cola Vietnam as a leading recruiter in the country. Recently, Coca-Cola took the top spot on the list of the 100 Most Beloved Recruiters of 2017, according to the annual survey conducted by CareerBuilder Vietnam.

In addition to its intrinsic personnel development, Coca-Cola launched young leadership empowerment programmes, collaborated with the US-ASEAN Business Council and the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development under VCCI to carry out the SMEs in Vietnam for sustainable development in 2017" project. The project achieved positive results when eight out of 12 SMEs were qualified for joining Coca-Cola Vietnam's supply chain. This is a positive start for Vietnamese SMEs on the journey of joining the global value chain.

At the same time, Coca-Cola also continuously advocates the economic empowerment of women with the 5by20 programme - which aims to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs through the global value chain by 2020. To realise this goal, the firm carries out E-learning courses at EKOCENTERs and implements the Mekong Vitality Project for disadvantaged women in the Mekong Delta.

Vocational training and high-quality personnel are defined as key tasks of Vietnam from now to 2020 and the Government has called for the mobilisation of all social resources for human resource development to increase share of trained workers to 70 per cent of the country’s workforce by 2020. In response to the call of the Government, Coca-Cola Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Foreign Affairs Bureau under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organise management training courses, convey lessons in international business, and advance foreign language skills of leaders and officials working in the external affairs offices of centrally governed provinces and cities. The three-year programme is taught by experts from Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) and other local partners.

Thank you very much!