According to reports, a couple of years ago, Atul Singh, President and CEO, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, on one of his market trips to the hinterland in UP, encountered the challenges retailers faced in offering chilled beverages in summers due to long power cuts. Singh came back from his visit and brainstormed with the company’s technical team on what could be done.
This led to the launch of “eKoCool” solar coolers, a project the company started not only to help retailers chill their drinks using solar power but also empower women.
These coolers are distributed to women retailers, helping them earn a livelihood. Besides cooling drinks, it can also charge lanterns and cell phones which helps them earn that little extra. It remains chilled for at least two-and-a-half hours after sunset.
Starting with 20 solar coolers in Agra, which led to a jump in sales by nearly five times for these retailers, the company has now installed nearly 110 solar coolers and ordered 500 more. In the next phase, the company wants to distribute as many as 1,000 solar coolers to women in UP. Modern-day companies, he says, must first look at what consumers want and then work backwards, if they have to run a sustainable business, says Singh in an interview to Business Line.
From training kirana store owners to helping mango farmers, in its 20 years of operations, Coca-Cola India is focusing on building sustainable communities. The beverage major returned to India in 1993 after exiting the country in the late 1970s.