COVID-19 has been the Black Swan event none of us could have predicted. All of New Zealand began operating in highly unusual times and circumstances. While uncertainty became the new normal, one of the largest manufacturing operators in the country was working hard to maintain its course of responsible sustainability. Not just because it’s a requirement but because it’s the right thing to do.

At Coca-Cola Amatil New Zealand (Amatil NZ), sustainability is viewed through the lens of its four key pillars – people, environment, community and wellbeing. While COVID-19 hasn’t overly altered that focus, it has created a few additional challenges for the business is to achieve its objectives.

One of the greatest challenges within the organisation in adapting to the new normal is working out how to ensure its people are looked after. Amatil NZ has close to 1200 employees throughout New Zealand and has been recognised as one of New Zealand’s Best Employers four years running having received the Aon Best Employer accreditation every year since 2016.

Peter Jiang – external communications manager

Chris Litchfield, managing director Coca-Cola Amatil NZ, was adamant that its people always come first, especially over this challenging time.

“One of our priorities was to ensure we could keep all of our people employed and paid in full during COVID-19 lockdown, this meant paying every single one of our full-time employees 100% of their wages,” says Litchfield.

“We’re saddened by the number of businesses that have been forced to close and the Kiwis that have lost jobs over this challenging time. We have to do everything we can to look after our people and our customers so they can support their families and communities, we’re all in this together.”

The majority of staff had to relocate to work from their homes through lockdown, however, being an essential service meant some were also needed to work on the frontlines to keep up with customer demand. While working on the frontlines, Amatil NZ has its own processes in place as well as closely aligning with government directives to decrease the risk of transmission during COVID-19.

The business also had a rethink around how it is able to better support the communities in which it operates. Coca-Cola NZ has supported Youthline to develop a series of online content as part of Youthline’s Good2Great programme, featuring G2G brand ambassador Stan Walker. The new series was designed to support young Kiwis while New Zealand was at Alert Level 3 and 4, through video interviews with Stan’s friends and experts.

Amatil’s focus on the environment has not altered on its purpose and objectives, it’s about doing the right thing. All of it’s plastic bottles under one litre and all water bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic. This includes the bestselling brands such as Coca-Cola, Powerade, Pump and Kiwi Blue. The organisation also welcomed the government’s announcement that a Container Return Scheme was in the works and they look forward to working with government, Iwi, industry, NGOs and community to develop a world class system here in New Zealand.

Coca-Cola Amatil NZ has committed to working with government, stakeholders and customers to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of its people and the communities in which they operate.

“We are all in this together. Be safe – Kia haumaru.”