COLOMBIA - Industry
President, Coca-Cola Colombia
Carlos Martin has an undergraduate degree in Business Management from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and a masters in Marketing from CESMa. He has more than 20 years of experience in the field of mass consumption, having held roles in Spain, France, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. He focuses on being part of a diverse team that works toward a common goal and that reaches objectives through sustainable means. Fundamentally, he contributes to the positive development of society and believes in enjoying every moment. His last position was General Director of The Coca-Cola Company for Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Today, he is the President of Operations of Coca-Cola for Colombia and Venezuela.
We have been working on three pillars in recent months as we pursue our overall agenda. The first is the economic recovery, in which we work closely with small and medium-sized retailers, carrying out plans to help them adapt to the new normal. The second pillar is sustainability. We have been working on this agenda diligently to reach the targets we set in 2018 for our sustainability strategy: World Without Waste. In Colombia, six out of ten bottles we place in the market are recycled. Our bottles are 96% recyclable and are in 40% made from recycled material. We are proud of our work in that regard. The third pillar is product innovation, involving new products and entering new categories. Colombia is the fifth market in the world for Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, a new category in alcoholic beverages. We have also launched a new formula for Coca-Cola that is closer to the original taste, but with zero sugar.
The world has changed over the past 18 months. We have been working very closely with our retailers and the entire service chain. This is mainly due to the fact that there are distinct new trends, for example, takeout and delivery. It has been booming over the past few years, and moreover it has been a digital boom. It is totally different from three years ago. We have been working closely with digital partners to develop tools that adapt to the new standards in the value chain. For example, we are accepting more direct store orders digitally to facilitate the speed of transactions. We updated our offer to digital and are promoting more digitally as well. One great example of that is Wabi,a platform were you can order your favorite products with a direct delivery from your neighborhood warehouse. . We are watching this adapt to the new situation and we note that the interaction is increasing. Another example is our B2C platform, Coca-Cola en tu hogar, where you can order any Coca-Cola product to your home for delivery. This transformation has been key. Another important enabler for this transformation that we are seeing on the retail side is that we are moving toward a new network organization that combines the strategy Coca-Cola has with its knowledge of different markets. We are combining several units into one, in our case, now we work as a Latam operating unit, which is allowing us to be more agile and accelerate our transformation into being more digital, and quickly adapt global strategies to local operations.
At Coca-Cola, we started our World Without Waste strategy in 2018 and designed targets for 2025 and 2030. We aim to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030, make our packaging 100% recyclable by 2025 and use 50% recycled material in our bottles and cans by 2030. In Colombia, we are already at more than 40% and we will keep working to get to the stablished target. Also, in Colombia right now, with the help of different actions we are collection six out of 10 bottles. . It’s a key agenda at the center of everything we do, and we’re working with many stakeholders and other companies, public and private institutions, and NGOs. I can give a few examples, such as Hagamos Esta Juntos, a campaign that was recently launched to raise people’s understanding of separating their trash and recycling. It has been received very well. We also have Mi Barrio Sin Residuos, which is based in Medellín and aims for consumers to give recyclers their bottles and cans and win points to redeem in products in the nearest neighborhood store. We have El Caribe Respira, which showed people the importance of cleaning beaches. We want to ensure that the public understands that we all have a responsibility to protect the environment and the beaches. We work on numerous programs, and first and foremost it is about supporting Colombia and placing importance on society. Also, we want to make sure we are supporting those who recycle.
We are working hard to involve women in every aspect of society. In 2010, we announced a program to empower 5 million women. By the end of 2020, we had exceeded the target and reached over 6 million women. In Colombia, we have a very well-established program called Emprendamos Juntas, a program launched in order to make sure that women who own small businesses and stores get training to be more entrepreneurial and successful. We have trained 4,418 women so far and our plan is to increase that by a further 6,000. It’s a project that we are working with other organizations. This year we partnered with fashion designer Juan Pablo Socarrás, to launch Historias Hechas A Mano, were we support 67 female artisans around Colombia to showcase a design and artwork they have produced using our recyclable materials. We are proud to share that this work was showcased at Colombiamoda, one of the most important fashion events in Latam.
Colombia is a key market for Coca-Cola, and not only because of its size. Yes, it has 40% of the GDP of this region and the third largest population in Latin America, but it’s the resilience and the way our people behave that encourages the company. There’s a can-do attitude here, and for us as Coca-Cola, that makes it key. Coca-Cola will also be important for Colombia. When I think of the coming years, I’m imagining much of the same: still moving forward, understanding our consumers, and designing products that offer a wide range of choices. Meanwhile, it’s important to advance our sustainability agenda and look for new ways to make it happen. We also want to work in product and packaging innovation and launch products of benefits, be it low sugar, or no sugar at all. We want to support communities and increase gender equality. Our agenda is about consistency in that regard, but we also need to strategize on how to advance and think differently. Luckily, we have an amazing team working on that, which makes us all the more confident in the future in Colombia.
I’m very optimistic in this regard. I’ve been in Colombia for 11 months, and what I see is that all the stakeholders are working in a collaborative way to ensure Colombia’s success. To me, it is a country of many opportunities. The people have a good attitude and are absolute professionals. I am sure of a bright future.
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