Coca-Cola HBC Romania, Bucharest, Romania was presented with the Stevie Award for Public Affairs Communications or PR Campaign of the Year at The 2010 International Business Awards banquet in Istanbul on September 27.
When Romania became a member of the European Community in 2007, EU legislation required that Romania increase its waste recovery to 60% by 2013.
The main challenges for the country to reach this target were the lack of an integrated waste-management system with appropriate legislation—and the need to educate the population on separate collection.
Coca-Cola HBC Romania, part of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Group, took a leading role in Romania’s efforts to build an integrated system to recover packaging and to provide an awareness campaign for the general population. Separate collection and recycling represent the main sustainability directions of the company.
Coca-Cola HBC Romania’s Community Programs team, led by Laura Sgarcitu, an experienced Public Affairs & Communications Specialist, had three objectives: to promote a legislative framework to support a waste management system; to make a significant contribution to attaining the national target set by the EU; and to promote the importance of separate collection and recycling at a national level.
A 2008 study carried out by the Institute of Marketing and Surveys in Romania (IMAS) had revealed that only half the Romanian population collected separately. In 2009, the Community Programs team at Coca-Cola HBC developed a platform on separate collection, the two major components of which were a lobbying program aimed at outlining a legislative framework for separate collection in Romania, and an educational campaign targeting the public.
In order to put pressure on the public policy agenda, Coca-Cola HBC built inter-sector alliances and strategic partnerships with environmental NGOs, media institutions, and organizations committed to separate collection. The aim was to start a movement that would involve the public and local communities directly. The movement was named the Waste Coalition.
Coca-Cola HBC formed the Alliance for Separate Collection as an informal industry group of ten multinational FMCG companies that supported the separate collection movement of the Waste Coalition. The company also prepared two studies on littering in urban and rural areas, and proposed amendments to existing laws—as well as new laws—on the topics of public sanitation and the collecting and recycling process. Finally, Coca-Cola HBC introduced the separate collection system to Parliament in order to persuade politicians about the system’s effectiveness.
Coca-Cola HBC created a national integrated-communications campaign (TV, radio, print, and online) to promote its concept of separate collection. The company developed the online platform Life After Collection to create a virtual community concerned with waste management and to promote the campaign’s messages in the social media. The site got people involved through online petitions and letters addressed to local authorities asking them to implement the separate collection system in their area. The company collected signatures at awareness-raising events, and ten leading Romanian celebrities endorsed the campaign.
As a result of Coca-Cola HBC’s lobbying, a group of Romanian Members of Parliament drafted three pieces of legislation: an amendment of the Public Sanitation Law; a law to introduce the compulsory collection of selective waste packaging for all public institutions; and a draft law on picnic waste management.
In addition, the Waste Coalition became an advisory group to Romania’s Environment Minister and to Parliament’s Environment Committee.
By the end of 2009, separate collection points had been set up in three out of six districts in Bucharest, and in 78 locations in other large Romanian cities.
The habits of the general public began to change, and the quantity of waste collected in Romania between 2008 and 2009 increased by a whopping 25%.
About Laura Sgarcitu
Laura Sgarcitu has worked for Coca-Cola HBC Romania for seven years and is currently Public Affairs & Communications Specialist, Community Programs. She coordinates the development and implementation of the company’s corporate social responsibility programs on a national level. Sgarcitu was previously Public Affairs & Communication Specialist, Internal Communications, tasked with protecting and enhancing the company’s reputation. Sgarcitu has a passion for volunteer work, and she manages a number of environmental projects in partnership with specialized NGOs. Her efforts have received national recognition in a competition awarding civil-society initiatives in Romania.
About Coca-Cola HBC Romania
Coca-Cola HBC Romania is a member of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Group and is a leader in the Romanian market for non-alcoholic drinks. The company has operated for 19 years in Romania, where it runs the bottling, distribution, sales, and operational marketing for a large variety of Coca-Cola products including carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, iced tea, mineral water, energy drinks, and instant coffee. For more information visit http://cchbcjobs.ro/responsabilitate-sociala/mediu/colectarea-si-reciclarea-deseurilor/.