Coco-Cola invest in research to create more sustainable packaging materials

Coco-Cola invest in sustainable packaging materials
  • Coco-Cola is planing to invest in sustainable packaging materials through carbon conversion research at Swansea University.
  • The research aims to create more sustainable packaging materials for plastic bottle caps.
  • The project explores a new way to manufacture ethylene, a key component in plastic, using CO₂ captured from the atmosphere as an alternative to fossil fuels.
  • This initiative is funded through CCEP Ventures. It aligns with Coca-Cola European Partners’ (CCEP) goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2040.

Coca-Cola plans to invest in cutting-edge carbon conversion research at Swansea University. The research offers the potential to create more sustainable packaging materials for the global brand.   

This project will explore a new way of manufacturing ethylene – one of the key components in plastic, like HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) used to make plastic bottle caps.

Coco-Cola invest in sustainable packaging materials

The research aims to develop technology capable of using CO₂ captured from the atmosphere as an alternative to fossil fuels used during the ethylene production process, offering a potentially more sustainable way to create plastic packaging.

The project is the latest to be funded through CCEP’s innovation investment engine, CCEP Ventures (CCEPV), and follows a series of investments designed to drive innovation and sustainability progress in line with CCEP’s net zero 2040 ambition.

Craig Twyford, Head of CCEP Ventures, said: “We’re incredibly excited about the potential of this research. We know that making our packaging materials more sustainable is key to decarbonising our business, and technology will play an important role in helping us solve this challenge.

Professor Enrico Andreoli, Head of Chemical Engineering at Swansea University and Principal Investigator of the project, said: “We’re really thrilled to be working with CCEP to develop next-generation carbon dioxide utilisation technology. We take a practical approach in our research focusing specifically on sustainable applications, and fossil-free ethylene production is certainly a key one. We build upon our strong background and expertise in carbon dioxide conversion and with the support of CCEP Ventures, our common goal of delivering low-carbon sustainable plastic can become a reality.” 

The three-year project will initially focus on development of a highly efficient and productive CO₂ to ethylene conversion process, before evaluating scale-up options.

Sustainability action plan

As part of Coca-Cola’s sustainability action plan This Is Forward, CCEP is committed to reducing the impact of its packaging and seeking to accelerate the transition to a circular economy for plastic. Investment of previous partnerships include: a recent partnership with the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) to develop scalable methods of converting captured CO₂ into sugar, and an investment into CuRe, a technology that offers a new lease of life for hard-to-recycle plastic polyester waste.

These projects are designed to make essential raw and packaging materials more sustainable in the long-term. This will accelorate the potential to reduce some of the largest CO₂ contributors in supply chains, while saving material, transportation and logistics costs.

The announcement follows the news that CCEP, The Coca-Cola Company and seven other bottling partners from around the world have launched a separate $137.7 million venture capital fund focusing on sustainability investments. The fund will complement CCEP Ventures, which focuses on early stage businesses, by investing in companies at the point of commercialisation.

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