According to the Hindu Businessline, Atul Singh, president and CEO of Coca-Cola India grappled with a challenge many small town and rural retailers faced when visiting Uttar Pradesh during the summertime: It was difficult to supply ice-cold drinks due to the frequent power outages.
Upon his return from the trip, he collaborated with his technical team and launched a project of “eKoCool” solar coolers, a product that would not only aid retailers in delivering ice cold confections, but also empowered women.
These coolers are distributed to women retailers, and this multipurpose cooler keeps drinks cooled for two and a half hours after sunset, charges cell phones, lanterns, and ultimately provides a means for women retailers to earn a little extra.
What Singh is particularly excited about is the work the company has done for communities. Asked about the cost the company incurs for its projects, he replies, “My view is this is just good business. Operating in a sustainable manner, building communities is what we have been doing. People call it CSR, we have just done it as good business,” he said.
From small retail shops to mango farmers, the benefits of this device have truly impacted a variety of communities across UP. Singh explains that if communities are not sustainable then “our business will not be sustainable.” For example, if a community does not have proper drinking water, Coca-Cola cannot operate a bottling plant.
Another initiative Coca-Cola India was involved with includes a partnership with Jain Irrigation to create “Project Unnati”, a program dedicated to train 50,000 farmers over five years. The program uses buses with in-built classrooms to provide on-the-go training in high density mango farming plantation techniques, which can help farmers double their yields.