The initial success of Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative can be attributed to a dual focus on expanding economic opportunity for women and driving the company’s core business, a case study by Harvard Kennedy School’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative and Business Fight Poverty notes.
The report, published today, is designed to provide companies and partners in government, civil society and the donor community with actionable insights and best practices gathered from the first few years of Coke’s ambitious effort to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs across its global value chain this decade.
5by20 launched in 2010 with programs in Brazil, India, the Philippines and South Africa, and has since reached 300,000 women producers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, recyclers and artisans in 12 countries with business skills training, microfinance programs, mentoring and networking opportunities, and more.
“By studying and sharing some of the early lessons of implementing this initiative in ‘real time,’ we hope that it will be possible for other companies and development partners to accelerate their own progress in developing models that achieve both business benefit and development impact through tackling some of the world’s most pressing development challenges,” Jane Nelson, director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, writes in the report’s forward.
The report, which includes quotes from Coca-Cola leaders and NGO partners such as UN Women, examines five 5by20 programs: 1) Project Nurture in Kenya and Uganda, which aims to bring more than 50,000 smallholder mango and passion fruit farmers into the Coca-Cola value chain; 2) Coca-Cola Kwanza’s Micro Distribution Center Model in Tanzania, which aims to build the capacity of 170 independent distributors to supply Coca-Cola products to small retailers in congested urban environments; 3) The STAR Program in the Philippines, which aims to help 100,000 small-scale women retailers grow their businesses and boost their incomes; 4) Coletivo Recycling in Brazil, which aims to build the self-esteem and capacity of 500 cooperatives of waste pickers, diversify their markets and sources of supply, and increase their sales and incomes; and 5) Coletivo Artes in Brazil, which is working with 100 artisan cooperatives. Check out this interactive map to learn more about active 5by20 programs around the world.
According to the authors, a few keys to sustainability and scale stand out across these programs – led, first and foremost, by a strong business case for Coca-Cola.
“The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 portfolio continues to grow, testing even more new models for catalyzing and sustaining women’s economic empowerment along the value chain and generating additional lessons learned,” the case study concludes. “As the most successful models go to scale, the benefits could be transformational – inspiring replication within the Coca-Cola system and beyond.”