The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, our company’s portfolio features 16 billion-dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia, and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of more than 1.9 billion servings a day. For more information, visit www.coca-cola.com.
View The Coca-Cola Company’s Strategies
It is hard to imagine even a remote corner of the world where the Coca-Cola logo isn’t recognized today. The world’s largest beverage company, The Coca-Cola Company has close to 150,000 employees globally and more than 750,000 when the franchise system is included. In the United States alone, The Coca-Cola Company provides health care to more than 125,000 associates, family members, and retirees.
The Coca-Cola Company’s Strategies for Improving the Health and Wellness of Individuals
The company’s well-being strategy focuses on the whole person with efforts to support physical, emotional, financial and social well-being. More than programs, the strategy focuses on building a well-being culture that encourages and supports employees in their efforts to be balanced, be happy, be together with friends and family, and be prosperous. Coca-Cola feels that employees who bring their best energy to the workplace are more creative and productive, which is a win for the employee and a win for the business. It is also critical for the company to align its internal associate strategy with its external active, healthy lifestyle programs around the world.
To support the well-being of employees, the company concentrates its strategy in four core areas:
- Offering Personalized Support: Personalized support services help associates address individual needs, overcome barriers, and meet their goals—whether it’s taking that first small step, running their first 10K, or keeping various risk factors under control.
- Enabling Social Engagement: Social-engagement opportunities make well-being an ongoing part of an associate’s work and life through peer connections, learning, challenges, recognition, and being a brand ambassador.
- Making Well-Being Accessible: Information, resources, and tools to support well-being are made available virtually and on-locations to make it easier for employees to find the help and support they need.
- Shifting to a Culture of Well-Being: Starting with leaders as well-being role models and empowering associates globally helps integrate well-being into the work and lives of associates, their families, and the communities in which they live.
The Coca-Cola Company offers a comprehensive benefits package designed to promote well-being for its employees. In addition to comprehensive health care, the company provides an onsite gym and medical center at its headquarters campus, discounted gym memberships across the United States, well-being coaching, and disease management programs. To support financial well-being, the company provides free financial planning services in the United States. In addition, over the next few months the company is launching an employee assistance program (already in the United States) in more than 100 countries.
The company offers employees Virgin HealthMiles (now Virgin Pulse), a comprehensive and customizable health and well-being platform, to help them assess, plan, organize, and track their health and well-being activities. To help motivate employees, the company provides health care premium reduction incentives to be active, participate in challenges, complete a well-being assessment, get biometrics screenings, and participate in well-being coaching programs. Following are some examples of how the company supports employee well-being across the four pillars:
Engaging Employees in the Development of New, Innovative Strategies
Well-being programs are not just company-led initiatives, but rather are ignited by the passion of employees. To help bring this passion to life, the company has appointed well-being champions in all major workplace locations as well as for its global functions. These champions help to activate well-being locally. In addition to champions, the company recently held a three-day “Start-Up Weekend” event where more than 50 employees came together to brainstorm, develop, and pitch new ideas for employee well-being programs. Divided into teams, each group created a business plan around their idea and “pitched” the program to the rest of the group. At the end of the process, each team was assigned an executive mentor to help further develop, accelerate, and execute the programs. Some of the strategies that emerged and are being developed for implementation include:
A Fit Mob is like a flash mob: a spontaneous, short-term convergence of energetic people who come together to exercise. When a Fit Mob breaks out at a company facility, text messages invite employees to join in for ten to 15 minutes of zumba, Tai Chi, or other movement-related activity.
“Coke Music Moment”
Recognizing that music has been shown to reduce stress and blood pressure, Coke Music Moment is a weekly program in which employees can connect with each other and refresh while listening to musical performances (often by fellow colleagues).
Walk with a Leader
As simple as the name sounds, Walk with a Leader is a weekly lunchtime walk led by a rotating set of leaders. The walks encourage people to get up and be active while providing an opportunity to connect with Coca-Cola leaders outside of the typical work environment.
Coca-Cola offers free financial planning services in the United States. This is particularly helpful with the shift toward higher-deductible health plans, encouraging employees to think about how to create a health care strategy over their lifetimes.
Making Activity Fun And Social
In the first part of 2014, the company held its first global physical activity challenge that was done in coordination with Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup. Employees competed in the Go for the Employee Cup challenge by playing a series of soccer (football) matches in more than 50 countries. A winner from the top teams from each country was randomly drawn to take part in a VIP Experience at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Benefits and Impact
The Coca-Cola Company uses a range of measures, including the following, to evaluate the positive impact of its programs on both employees and the company:
- Population Health Risk: The company measures the degree to which employees move from high-risk/chronic conditions into lower-risk categories that help the employee and reduce health care costs.
- Employee Engagement: The employee insights survey includes a focus on well-being. There is a direct link between employee engagement and business performance.
- Innovation: Well-being activities play a critical role in bringing disparate employee groups together. These interconnections are important catalysts for innovation and creativity which the company both encourages and monitors.
Employees lead busy lives, and The Coca-Cola Company uses a triple-faceted approach to engage them in well-being activities: education (providing them with useful, relevant, accessible information); facilitation (creating programs, physical space, and supportive policies); and motivation (incentives to help them begin the process of creating healthy habits). Too often well-being programs stop at education and/or facilitation, but The Coca-Cola Company understands that motivation—through incentives, culture, and peer support—drives sustainable behavior change and long-term improvements in well-being.
Key Take-aways for Other Employers
Driving productivity through well-being requires more than just a program. It requires a comprehensive culture change that weaves health and well-being goals tightly together with business goals. Without that tight connection, well-being becomes separate from the work, a low priority, or a focus “only when my work is done.”
It is also important that health and well-being start at the top—with leaders who are role models and who visibly demonstrate well-being behaviors and actively support the well-being of their team members. Whether it is holding a walking meeting, taking time to ask about an employee’s own well-being, or celebrating when someone reaches their well-being goal, it needs to be visible, authentic, and in Coke parlance, real.
Known the world over for its brand and beverages, The Coca-Cola Company is also widely respected for its considerable work to improve the health of communities. The Coca-Cola Company has carefully deliberated to identify areas in which the organization could make the most impact to advance active, healthy living within communities, with the goal of supporting access to:
- Exercise, physical activity, and nutritional education programs;
- Programs that motivate behavior modification; and
- Programs that encourage lifestyle/behavioral changes.
The Coca-Cola Foundation (Foundation) is at the core of support for advancing community health. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded millions of dollars to support active, healthy living initiatives. The support reflects the company’s philosophy that “golden triangle” partnerships among business, government, and civil society are essential to drive meaningful change to societal issues.
Working to increase active, healthy lifestyles is directly related to health improvement. To that end, the company’s goal is to help raise the standards for physical activity around the world by providing workable solutions and opportunities that foster active, healthy living. Specifically, the Foundation and the company together supported more than 290 active healthy living programs in 118 countries, with a global commitment to sponsor at least one physical activity program in every country where Coca-Cola operates.
The Coca-Cola Company’s Strategies for Improving the Health of Communities
Below is a summary of some of the programs—both large and small—supported by The Coca-Cola Company and The Coca-Cola Foundation. The programs are designed to encourage individuals, families, and neighborhoods to live active, healthy lifestyles by expanding nutrition education and physical activity programs through local organizations. The following are a few U.S. and Canadian examples:
Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness
The Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness Program hires U.S. military veterans to lead health and wellness initiatives. The program goal is to improve health outcomes by increasing access to health and wellness programs through existing community-based organizations.
The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded a $3 million grant to the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to spread this initiative to 12 communities by 2015. The NRPA is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation, and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Currently Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness operates in Chicago, San Antonio, Miami-Dade County, Atlanta, Newark, and Sacramento.
In Chicago, a $3 million multi-year grant to the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance (GPC) enabled GPC and the Chicago Park District (CPD) to create the Park Families Wellness Initiative. This program features affordable nutrition and active lifestyle programming for communities in Chicago who are in most need of wellness services. Additionally, the initiative allows the CPD to hire American veterans to teach the Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness military-style fitness classes. This program is expected to impact 125,000 citizens, including 50,000 children and 75,000 adults.
In San Antonio, American veterans will serve as fitness coaches and will use a traveling bus equipped with fitness equipment to go to communities that do not have adequate physical activity and health resources. This multi-year grant also funds the Mobilizing Health and Fitness Resources to Neighborhoods project in San Antonio. The project includes a “ride-to-own” bicycle initiative, which has distributed 450 bikes to people who attend classes in bike safety, nutrition, and physical activity. After-school programs teach kids about making healthy choices, team building, and leadership. By the end of 2016, more than 60,000 San Antonians will have increased access to health and wellness programs.
In Miami-Dade County, NRPA, Miami-Dade Parks, and Recreation and Open Spaces will oversee a program that will support increased physical activity and nutrition education at the county’s 13 community centers. By the end of 2016, more than 5,000 Miami-Dade residents will have increased access to health and wellness programs.
The Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness program promotes balanced living, supports veteran employment recruitment, and partners with local communities to create meaningful impact on obesity.
Coca-Cola has been a sponsor of grassroots soccer since 1988 in Zimbabwe. After formalizing the program, which was first launched in Mexico, Copa Coca-Cola has expanded to reach young soccer players around the world. The program gives teams of boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 15 the opportunity to compete in tournaments at the local, state and national levels. National competitions culminate in a World Cup-style international championship each summer. Today the program is active in more than 60 markets across five continents and welcomes approximately 1.3 million teens each year.
This year, in the United States, more than 4,000 teens participated in the local phase of the tournament, which was hosted in Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, San Antonio, San Jose and Seattle. The winning teams from each local tournament traveled to Los Angeles and competed in one national tournament April 18 to April 20.
Copa Coca-Cola is possible thanks to partnerships and support from its official partners, including McDonald’s, Walgreens, and the Starwood Preferred Guest, (SPG®), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
In 2013, the company developed the program’s first global charter, which was designed to align the system across markets, expand the experience and its outreach, and explicitly support our global well-being commitments.
Exercise is Medicine® Program
The Coca-Cola Company is a founding partner of Exercise is Medicine® (EIM), an initiative focused on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to include exercise when designing prevention and treatment plans for patients (also known as ‘green prescriptions’). EIM is committed to the belief that exercise and physical activity are integral to the prevention and treatment of chronic disease and should be regularly assessed as part of medical care. Along with the National Physical Activity Plan, Exercise is Medicine strives to make physical activity a “vital sign” that is routinely assessed at every patient interaction with a health care provider.
In addition to improving a patient’s overall health, increasing physical activity has proven effective in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Even with all the benefits of physical activity, in the United States more than half of adults do not meet the recommendations for sufficient physical activity in the Physical Activity Guidelines.1 Physical activity is also a critical antidote to the fact that about 17 percent of children in the United States are obese.2
In 2010, as a result of international interest and demand, EIM’s mission expanded to one of building a global awareness and infrastructure to implement physical activity promotion in health care settings, with a particular focus on physicians and other health care providers. EIM is currently in more than 40 countries including low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) as well as developed countries.
EPODE International Network (EIN)
In 2011, The Coca-Cola Company became the first founding global partner of the EPODE International Network (EIN). EIN is an international non-governmental organization committed to reducing and preventing childhood obesity and non-communicable diseases by promoting physical activity and nutrition education through community-based programs. Today the network has 39 community-based programs in 27 countries, positively impacting the health and well-being of nearly 170 million people across the world. All programs are designed to prevent childhood obesity with support provided by the EIN, based on lessons learned from the EPODE model and its international implementation over the last 20 years.
Since EPODE’s feature in the United States Chamber of Commerce report, “Navigating Obesity: A Road Map For Prevention,”3 released in October 2013, as one of the most promising, comprehensive, and cohesive models to tackle obesity and its related diseases, the EIN has been working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center to implement an obesity prevention model in the United States that will be known as Prevention Together. Prevention Together represents the next generation of community transformation initiatives highlighting seven key features: an efficient coordinating infrastructure; effective public-private engagement; cohesive social marketing; effective knowledge transfer; strong monitoring and evaluation; expert operational know-how; and a powerful scale-up platform. As a multi-pronged campaign that helps communities create a movement on well-being, Prevention Together is geared for community change. It works with communities to align existing interests and activities and galvanize stakeholders across sectors to drive positive social and health impact in the community.
EPODE is currently being implemented in Canada with two pilots planned in the United States.
Good Sports Program
With the support of The Coca-Cola Foundation, Good Sports was able to grow its program in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco, impacting more than 40,000 youth. Good Sports is dedicated to supporting youth sports by providing equipment, footwear, and apparel to disadvantaged young people nationwide.
Youth sports programs have faced severe budget cuts in most regions and many organizations respond by shifting the costs to families in the form of higher fees. In some communities, this can effectively exclude disadvantaged children from joining teams. More than 60 percent of suburban youth participate in sports leagues compared with just 20 percent of urban youth.4
By partnering with sporting goods manufacturers, Good Sports is able to provide equipment, apparel, and footwear to programs in need. This lowers their costs, which helps keep fees affordable, creates more scholarships, enhances the quality of their activities, and introduces new sports into their schools or organizations. Good Sports strives to ensure that all kids are equipped to lead healthy, active lifestyles, regardless of income level.
In the fight against childhood obesity, sports and fitness are powerful weapons. Studies show that in addition to the obvious benefits of regular activity, kids who participate in sports enjoy better nutritional awareness and improved self-esteem. Also, these kids are 57 percent less likely to drop out of school, 49 percent less likely to take drugs, and 37 percent less likely to become teen parents.5 Good Sports has provided more than $9 million in equipment to more than 800,000 young athletes to date.
Partnering With Nurses
With support from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) and the National Hispanic Nurses Association (NHNA) are helping to reduce childhood, adolescent, and adult obesity across the United States. Through its Preventive Health Action Team, the NBNA is working with more than 15 local chapters to build upon existing partnerships with community-based organizations. With help from the local chapters, NBNA is supporting healthier lifestyles for individuals, including better nutrition, more physical activity, and ways to address chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The chapters are also providing clinical information and practical tools to help health care providers in their regions work with their patients to improve health and wellness.
The NHNA is implementing MUEVETE (MOVE) training sessions to help their members become trainers within their own communities, and work with local community organizations, health care professionals, physical education teachers, and other educators, to reduce childhood and adolescent obesity.
Boys & Girls Club of America’s Triple Play Program
The Triple Play program was launched in 2005 by Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with support from Coca-Cola—a founding sponsor. Triple Play is a game plan for the Mind, Body and Soul. It encourages kids to eat a balanced diet and become more physically active, and increases their ability to engage in healthy relationships.
Since its inception in 2005, Triple Play has made over seven million connections with kids across its three program components. Coca-Cola’s support for Triple Play reinforces its social commitment to positively impact the communities it serves through physical activity and nutrition education programs.
The ParticipACTION Teen Challenge sponsored by Coca-Cola Canada is a national youth physical activity program delivered by a network of community-based organizations working together to break down the barriers teens face in getting active. This innovative program is aimed at getting Canadian teenagers moving by providing funding to local organizations for things such as equipment, coaching, or access to facilities where teens can be active. The program allows teens to define how they want to get active and provides them with the support to make it happen. In addition, through joint marketing initiatives, ParticipACTION and Coca-Cola Canada work together to promote and encourage teens to adopt an active lifestyle.
ParticipACTION is a non-governmental agency that is the national voice of physical activity and sport participation in Canada. It works with its partners in various levels of government, community organizations and corporate sponsors to inspire and support Canadians to move more. It is a classic example of the “golden triangle”—bringing together business, government, and civil society.
Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
In 2009, The Coca-Cola Company became a founding member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), an organization whose national, multiyear effort is designed to help reduce obesity—especially childhood obesity. HWCF works with families and schools through its Together Counts™ campaign, a program that encourages active, healthy living through energy balance.
After just 5 years, the Together Counts program has 16.6 million children engaged with its free, standards-based, energy balance curriculum and a cumulative consumer reach of nearly 1 billion. HWCF has fostered critical partnerships with the Girl Scouts of the USA, Boy Scouts of America and the National Parent Teacher Association, who have leveraged the Together Counts content to suit the needs of 8.5 million girls, boys and parents.
In order to maximize the impact of their curriculum, HWCF has aligned the Together Counts ™ content with national education standards, SNAP, WIC, EFNEP, and more – allowing these government programs to repurpose resources that might be useful for their efforts.
In addition, HWCF food and beverage companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, recently fulfilled a pledge to reduce a combined 1.5 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2015. This pledge, made to First Lady Michelle Obama and subjected to an independent evaluation from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was completed by the end of 2012, 3 years earlier than promised. Even more, HWCF members exceeded their goal by 400%, reducing an incredible 6.4 trillion calories from the marketplace, equal to 78 calories per person per day.
Benefits and Impact
The Coca-Cola Company and its Foundation have positively impacted millions of people in the U.S. and Canada (and many more throughout the world) through community education and activity programs.
The Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness Program is bringing fitness programs and equipment to thousands of people in 12 cities and neighborhoods that lack access to such opportunities. Copa Coca-Cola has engaged 4,000 U.S. teens in competitive soccer, and Good Sports has provided sporting equipment to more than 800,000 youth. Through Exercise is Medicine, more than 40 countries are embracing the idea that exercise needs to be a standard part of a disease prevention and treatment medical and health paradigm across the world and an important vital life sign that must be assessed at any sick or wellness visit. The EPODE International Network is working to prevent childhood obesity in 27 nations, and will soon be piloted in the U.S. The Coca-Cola Foundation is supporting the work of nursing groups to develop trainers to reduce childhood and adolescent obesity in 15 local chapters in the U.S. With support from Coca-Cola, the Boys & Girls Club of America has connected with more than seven million kids around healthy lifestyles, and the ParticipACTION Teen Challenge is bringing healthy programming to locations in every province across Canada.
Lastly, through participation in the Healthy Weight Commitment and support of its Together Counts™ campaign, The Coca-Cola Company, in concert with other HWCF Member, is proud of the goal achieved in removing 6.4 trillion calories from the US marketplace and providing nearly 17 million children with an energy balance curriculum that helps raise their awareness and understanding of the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle.
The most successful solutions are those that are tailored to each community and its specific needs. Working with local, community-based organizations, and leveraging their expertise and local roots, increases outreach and boosts engagement. Partnering with local chapters of national organizations helps link local goals and strategies to national initiatives. Designing programs that meet multiple goals — such has hiring veterans to lead fitness programs, or supporting the link between physical activity and academic performance — is an extra “win” for the community and helps drive a “360º approach” to advancing health and wellbeing — the ultimate goal.
Key Take-aways for Other Employers
Partnerships at the local level are key to creating and supporting effective programs that help address community needs. The most effective partnership is “the golden triangle”—bringing together business, government, and civil society. Coca-Cola doesn’t work with just one partner or through just one model. It works with different partners and organizations across the globe to make a meaningful impact on each community’s particular needs and priorities.
Corporate citizens play a critical role in promoting health and well-being in the communities they serve. The Coca-Cola Company believes that without sustainable communities, its business cannot be sustainable. Its corporate success is tied to the success of the communities it serves.
1 “Facts about Physical Activity,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Last updated May 20, 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/facts.html
2 Cynthia Ogden and Margaret Carroll, “Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: United States, Trends 1963-1965 Through 2007-2008,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: NCHS Health E-Stat. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/obesity_child_07_08/obesity_child_07_08.htm
3 U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Navigating Obesity: A Road Map for Prevention. October 2013. http://ccc.uschamber.com/document/navigating-obesity-road-map-prevention
4 “Good Sports: About,” Good Sports Program, 2014. http://www.goodsports.org/about/
5 “Good Sports: About,” Good Sports Program, 2014. http://www.goodsports.org/about/