In order to address the needs of underserved communities, Coca-Cola commits to pilot the EKOCENTER project - a financially sustainable, globally replicable social enterprise model, run primarily by local female entrepreneurs. This model will provide tangible integration of Coca-Cola's sustainability priorities (Wellbeing, Women, and Water) into one cohesive social business concept that befits the communities, as well as engage private, civic, and public sector partners alike through the deployment of 150 EKOCENTERs around the world by 2015.
By serving as an 'off the grid' modular kiosk the EKOCENTER aims to transform a standard shipping container into a 'hub' of community activity. It will provide safe drinking water and a variety of services aimed to empower people in rural communities. Services include, but are not limited to, wireless communication, electricity, refrigeration, the selling of goods and products, and health and sanitation education. Through these products and services, the EKOCENTER project aims to improve four pillars of wellbeing within communities in need - physical, social, environmental, and economic wellbeing (each outlined below).
- Physical wellbeing: Physical wellbeing is directly linked to the ability to create healthy, prosperous communities. EKOCENTER will improve Physical wellbeing through providing access to safe drinking water, health and hygiene education, and health care products and services. The slingshot technology housed within the EKOCENTER will provide 45,000 people with approximately 50 million liters of safe drinking water. This alone will greatly reduce the chances of illness, effectively extending the average lifespan of individuals in affected communities.
- Social wellbeing: By offering services such as wireless internet, cell phone service, news access, and other connectivity services, EKOCENTER will enable rural communities to connect to the global community. Connectivity has the power to improve access to education and economic opportunity. Additionally, by serving as a community 'hub', EKOCENTER aims to provide a lighted and safe shared space for people to come together, learn, and play after dark.
- Environmental wellbeing: Coca-Cola will seek to implement a recycling and community engagement program run through each EKOCENTER. This program would incentivize recycling by offering currency in the form of products and services (e.g., Slingshot water, WIFI access, and other products at the EKOCENTER, etc.) in exchange for recycled materials. These materials will then be cycled back into Coca-Cola's system for reuse or given to local entrepreneurs as a source of materials for making artwork and crafts, thereby enabling the generation of an additional revenue stream in the community.
- Economic wellbeing: Each EKOCENTER will provide direct employment for two or more entrepreneurs (women where possible). The entrepreneurs hired to run the EKOCENTERs will receive skills and business training based on the curriculum developed through Coca-Cola's 5b y20 program.
In addition to the direct employment opportunities, Coca-Cola hopes to create a multiplier effect, dependent on the size of and services provided by an EKOCENTER. An educational component may also be added to the EKOCENTERs services. This would include skills development training and/or access financial services.
In order to achieve long-term viability for this ambitious project, Coca-Cola recognizes the importance of building partnerships and leveraging core competencies of other companies, NGOs, and governments. This Golden Triangle (tri-sector) partnership will enable Coca-Cola to execute on this commitment with creativity, innovation, and full product and financial support. In order for this Golden Triangle approach to succeed, it is critical for all partners to operate under the principle of servant leadership, being cognizant of all partner's objectives and expectations, and being flexible to changes in a given community.
Using the Golden Triangle Operating Model ('Leaders United'), Coca-Cola and its partners intend to leverage their people, infrastructure, and brands to play a leading role in improving the holistic wellbeing of underserved communities around the world. For example, The Coca-Cola System contains 700,000+ motivated individuals working within one of the world's largest supply chains. This infrastructure will allow for the implementation of EKOCENTERs in nearly any country in the world.
2014/Q1 or Q2: One EKOCENTER, with an operational Slingshot unit, deployed in each of the following countries: USA (Navajo Nation), Rwanda, the Philippines, and Haiti.
2014/Q4 or 2015/Q1: EKOCENTERs deployed in each of Coca-Cola's priority markets - Canada, China, Colombia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Tanzania, and Uganda
2015/Q4: 150 EKOCENTERs deployed in markets across Coca-Cola's operating areas - North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.