Our deepest sympathies go out to those whose families or friends have been tragically impacted by the Coronavirus.
We are carefully following all government guidelines and taking precautionary steps to do what we can to prevent the further spread of the virus. The safety and health of our customers, consumers, employees and our communities are always a high priority for us.
Here are some of the ways we are protecting our employees and serving our communities and customers during this time.
Protecting Employee Health and Well-being
The safety of Coca-Cola system employees is our highest priority. We have closely followed guidance from health authorities to protect the health and safety of employees across offices, production and distribution facilities by enabling the following:
• Increasing cleaning routines and improved hygiene protocols.
• Providing hand sanitisers to employees and positioning them in strategic locations.
• Encouraging good hygiene and other behaviours such as social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
• All operations have an isolation room with trained personnel. Personnel that may come into contact with affected or at-risk employees are trained in recognising the symptoms and how to protect themselves.
• At each of our operations, a local Health Authority approved medical facility has been identified to refer possible affected employees as well as appropriate methods of transportation.
• Personnel are encouraged to advise in advance when feeling ill and stay at home when not well.
• All offices across Southern & East Africa have encouraged employees to work from home to increase social distancing. Employees can still come into the office if their role requires them to be onsite to do their job effectively.
• In markets that are in lock down, the offices will close. Production facilities will remain open as per government guidelines.
Prioritising Safety in Production and Distribution Facilities
To ensure we can continue to make the beverages our communities need, our production and distribution facilities continue to operate but have adjusted their ways of working to protect everyone’s safety and well-being.
• The operations’ stock and ability to procure cleaning and disinfecting agents have been secured. We have also ensured that items required for our operations that might become scarce due to the virus outbreak is procured upfront.
• All personnel have a facility to wash and sanitise their hands before starting work. Delivery trucks and other company vehicles are also equipped with hand sanitiser and our operations are enabled to sanitise vehicles on return from the market.
• Contactless thermometers or cameras are available on site to measure temperature at the plant entry points.
• We have ensured sufficient stock of PPE, especially disposable overalls, masks, surgical gloves and safety glasses.
• Plans are in place for minimising contact of truck drivers with office bound or other operational personnel. We are implementing “runner roles” where one admin person handles all the delivery documentation, while truck drivers remain in vehicles.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation across our region and adapt our protocols and actions accordingly. Critical updates and changes will be communicated.
Any business travel, both local and international, has been suspended. Should employees experience flu-like symptoms, they have been asked to seek medical attention, inform their line manager and self-isolate to limit flu transmission.
Serving Customers and Consumers
Since the coronavirus outbreak began, we have been focused on ensuring our products are delivered safely to the stores and communities that need them, while taking every precaution to protect our employees’ well-being.
We would like to give consumers and customers our full assurance of the sustained integrity of our products. The safety and quality of our products are of the utmost importance. We have stringent processes in place to ensure that our products meet all applicable safety and quality standards everywhere we operate.
Ensuring Product Safety and Availability
The safety and quality of our products are top priorities for us, and we can say with confidence that our products are safe.
There is currently no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food or food packaging. In addition to the precautions that are described, we also ensure that the factories and all food contact surfaces are sanitised on a routine basis.
We are taking extra precautions to ensure products are handled hygienically at every step, from manufacturing facilities to customer outlets. This includes providing employees with alcohol wipes and hand sanitisers and installing temperature screening in certain manufacturing facilities. These measures not only protect our customers and consumers, they also protect our employees.
To ensure our products’ availability, we maintain business continuity plans to address any supply chain challenges that could arise.
We use ingredients sourced from various countries. Currently, we do not expect any impact to our customers or consumers. To ensure that we are always able to meet their needs, we maintain business continuity plans that are implemented to address any supply chain challenges, should they arise.
We have alternative procurement sources across the globe, should our operations need to implement contingency plans for sourcing.
Supporting Our Communities
These are challenging times and we are fully committed to doing everything we can to help.
We have decided that our commercial advertising will be scaled back and redirected to help amplify recommended global health guidelines to our communities.
We are working with NGO partners to support COVID-19 relief responses across Southern & East Africa. This includes donating and distributing medical supplies, bulk water and soap to vulnerable communities. We’ll be donating additional beverages to health workers and setting up handwashing stations in areas of need.
We are enhancing our support for affected small retailers and will continue to work with government authorities to address critical needs.
Globally, the Coca-Cola system and The Coca-Cola Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company, have made contributions to support relief efforts in China, Italy, the United States and Canada. The foundation is reviewing additional opportunities to support the most vulnerable communities across Africa. Foundation grants so far total $20.5 million.