Christoph Speck, General Manager of Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia, has recently revealed the peculiarities of the company’s 23-year activity in the country, weighing in on their current projects and the role they play, as well as programs the company has implemented and the policies practiced there.
"Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia" is the leader in the field of non-alcoholic beverages in Armenia. Over the past 23 years, company investments have amounted to more than AMD 25 billion. What is in your opinion the secret to the success and sustainable development of the company over the years?
People. There is no real secret to the success of a company but the difference between different companies is how much you care about your employees, your customers, consumers and the community you operate in – so the human factor. As Coca-Cola HBC Armenia we focus on all 4 aspects of this equation and we also measure our progress in these areas through independent surveys to understand how we can further and continually improve.
Recently, an independent study of the company’s social, economic and environmental impact on Armenia has been published. What is the main benefit of such a comprehensive study for Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia? Will it help in defining the company’s strategy for the upcoming year?
The SEIS study gives us, our partners and other organizations a better understanding of who we are and what our contribution to the economy, community and environment in which we operate is. The study itself doesn’t define the strategy but contributes to understanding it and is a good base to build the strategy.
The study thoroughly covered the company’s activity for the period of 2015-2017, taking into account the extensive value chain developed over the years. Are you satisfied with the results? What is the most striking indicator of economic impact that you are proud of?
Yes, looking at the report, I think all employees, suppliers and customers of Coca-Cola HBC Armenia can be proud – this is not just about us at Coca-Cola, it is about an ecosystem of different entities creating value together. The fact that strikes me most looking at the report is the significance we have in Armenia: our presence and system create over 2300 workplaces and contributes over 0.21% of GVA, our fiscal contribution amounts to 0.47% of total taxes paid in the country.
Apart from the significant economic impact of the company, Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia implements numerous CSR projects. In the period of 2015-2017, the company’s investments in the field totaled AMD112.4 million. What is the motivation behind such corporate activity?
As mentioned, there are 4 human factors to success - employees, customers, consumers and the community – and while the first 3 are directly related to our products and services, the community isn’t. However, this doesn’t mean it is less important at all! Our motivation, which we see as our duty, is two-folded. Our brand stands for happiness, so we have to invest and collaborate with others to create a better world for people. We also feel that with our expertise and the help of global experts, whom we can mobilize and engage, we can further support the country’s development in a very sustainable way: create better conditions for youth empowerment, implement water stewardship projects, bring studies and expertise in recycling-related topics.
Measures, including legislative changes, aimed at reducing plastic waste are taken around the globe. Your company also treats this issue with great responsibility worldwide. What are your achievements in this domain in Armenia? How do you manage recycling in our country?
Coca-Cola made a worldwide pledge that for every bottle sold we will collect and recycle one by 2030 at the latest. In many countries, we have already quite advanced on this path. Unfortunately, in Armenia the process is just starting, however that also brings great opportunities to get results in this area. Coca-Cola HBC Armenia has already signed a MoU with the Ministry of Nature Protection to work together on the matter. To achieve results, we need to get the industry, retailers and the general public aligned behind the issue, working together in creating awareness and the right behavior. At the same time, we need to improve the current collection and recycling infrastructure: both these initiatives need to go hand in hand to be successful. Proud that in our plant we have already achieved over 98% recycling, we now need to cooperate with other organizations and the government to roll out the recycling culture to the whole country.
A lot of people, especially young professionals, wish to work at your Happiness factory. Can you describe Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia as an employer, and what do you value most in your employees?
We value: Passion, Love and Care. With these three ingredients you can make this world a better place for yourself and others and serve our products with the highest quality and a smile.
Coca-Cola is probably one of the most popular companies in the world, with products available in over 200 countries. Your portfolio is constantly expanding with new beverages. What can you say about Armenian consumers? Do our demands and preferences coincide with consumers' requests in other countries?
Every country and its people do have specific tastes, preferences and demands. This shows in specific preferences for example in flavors or in packaging. We at Coca-Cola provide in all countries a wide portfolio of different beverages in different packages to meet this demand and Armenia is no exception.
They say Coca-Cola produced in Armenia is the tastiest one due to the quality of our water. Do you agree?
The water in Armenia is of great quality and we all together need to work hard and care to preserve it like this.