Coca-Cola chairman and chief executive officer James Quincey said on Monday that disruptions such as the recent violence in Delhi do create "some degrees of problems for businesses". During an interaction with the press in Mumbai, Mr Quincey said, "If there are disruptions in the functioning of a society, there will be some degree of problems for all businesses." Asked how businesses like Coca-Cola viewed the Delhi riots, Mr Quincey said, "India is a vibrant democracy and it needs to work out what is going on. It is hoped that things get resolved in an appropriate democratic manner." The Coca-Cola CEO is in India to take stock of the beverage giant's plans for the country.
However, on a positive note, Mr Quincey said, "we see a lot of long-term potential in India and one of the reasons is that it is a democratic country". "Every country has arguments over issue X or issue Y and they need to see through this."
Stating that the current economic situation in India is not a worry for Coca-Cola, he said that 2020 has started well for the company, which has seen good growth. He said the company has seen good demand and doesn't see a problem.
"Our next target is to double the size of our business in five years. That's what the challenge we are looking at is. We'll double first and then we'll see how we are doing and I think we have good progress on the investment front," the CEO added.
Speaking on the company's commitment of investing $1.7 billion (Rs 11,000 crore) in India by 2022, T Krishnakumar, president of The Coca-Cola Company's India and Southwest Asia business, said, "We are well on track. We think we will complete our investment ahead of time."
Speaking to reporters on the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Mr Quincey remarked, "In terms of the impact on the supply chain, it really hasn't affected us heavily in the short term. Obviously when we plan our supply chain we build in buffers and contingencies around key ingredients. We still have plenty of safety stock as we would call it."
"We know from the Chinese government that there has been a plateauing of new cases. Industrial and agricultural activity will start picking up again. We don't foresee significant supply chain challenges at this stage but if the virus spreads exponentially that will be a different issue," he added.
Talking about the impact of plastic waste on the environment, Mr Quincey said, "The way we are looking at packaging and carbon footprint is to bring two objectives together. One is to make sure that there is zero waste. So packaging, in whatever shape or form, should not go into the environment. Secondly, most of the packaging is done in a way to help reduce our carbon footprint in line with Paris Accord. What's interesting is the way we look at the carbon footprint of different materials."
"People seem to think that the solution to waste is no plastic. No. The solution to waste is no waste. And the solution to carbon footprint is to get PET bottles back and make new PET bottles from them. Most of the PET bottles in India are already collected. In India, most of the PET bottles are already collected," Mr Quincey added.
"Some 90 per cent is collected and we are working on further collecting more. What we are hoping to see, going into the future in India, is the ability to use the collected PET and turn it back into food grade PET bottles. That way we can make a circular economy out of the PET bottles."
Speaking to NDTV, Mr Quincey explained how his company has been reducing sugar content in its existing products and launching new products with low sugar content to address health concerns.
"We have done smaller pack sizes, we have innovated with zero sugars and we have innovated with new products with low sugar levels," the Coca-Cola CEO said.