An initial investment of 100 million US dollars, to finance an international project to benefit women: it’s called 5by20, which signifies “5 million women by 2020”. The goal of this project – conceived by Coca-Cola
, the Official Soft Drink Partner of Expo Milano 2015 – is to provide organic economic support for 5 million women to run their own business in developing countries by 2020.
Studies show that women carry out 66 percent of the world’s work but earn only 10 percent of the world’s profits, and that 90 percent of this 10 percent returns to families and local communities. To contribute to bridging this gap, Coca-Cola uses its 5by20 project to support and help women to overcome cultural and economic barriers, to offer them access to business skills, financial services and supportive networks made up of other women and of tutors, creating financially sustainable communities which also sustain growth.
The countries involved
5by20 was initially launched in four major nations: Brazil, India, South Africa and the Philippines. Currently, through this project, Coca-Cola is supporting programs in 44 countries around the world, involving over 550,000 women involved in production, supplying, distributing, retailing, recycling and craft work.
The ongoing broadening of the initiative has led to the launch of 5by20 in China, in partnership with the All China Women’s Federation, to provide business training to businesswomen. In Kenya, the project collaborates with TechnoServe in offering young women entrepreneurs training courses in business skills and loans for starting new companies. In Mexico, young women receive training and preparatory courses to prepare them for their first job. Numerous new 5by20projects have been developed through a 4 million dollar partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and UN Women, the UN organization created to act for the benefit of women and teenage girls worldwide, and which will help 40,000 women in South Africa, Brazil and Egypt to attain economic independence. This partnership will offer women training in various kinds of professional skills, and also in leadership and in accessing financial resources.
Success stories from around the world
Among the especially significant examples from the numerous sustainability initiatives activated through the 5by20 program, one could single out the “Nurture Project” in Kenya and Uganda, which supports 51,000 small farms, of which 15,000 run by women, helping them to increase production and expand their business. This project was launched in 2010 thanks to a partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
A second example could be the MDC (Micro Distribution Centers) business model, aimed at optimizing and implementing the distribution of products through small retail points in high density urban centers. Developed by Coca-Cola Kwanza in Tanzania, this model has been adopted by a further nine bottling companies in 19 developing countries and currently adds up to a total of 170 micro distribution centers, 65 percent of which are run by women.
Then there is the STAR Program, launched in the Philippines in 2011, aimed at stimulating the economic growth of 200,000 women proprietors of small sales points, offering managerial courses and access to financing, in order to increase their profits and improve their standards of living. This program was implemented through a collaboration between Coca-Cola Philippines and TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), an agency of the department of employment of the Philippines government.
In terms of recycling and sustainability, in Brazil the Coca-Cola Brazil Foundation has actively supported the Coletivo Recycling program, which works to improve the efficiency of local cooperatives operating in the field of collecting, separating and selling waste material destined for recycling. Launched in 2002, this project is one of numerous Coletivo projects created in order to improve the economic conditions of poor communities in Brazil. Currently this program involves the participation of 9,000 members of recycling cooperatives, of which over 5,000 are women. Also connected with sustainability and environmental safeguarding, in 2011 the Coletivo Artes was launched and directed by the Coca-Cola Brazil Foundation in Rio De Janeiro: this project acts to boost the income from arts and crafts cooperatives using elements of Coca-Cola packaging to create artisan object or decorative accessories for the home.
A prize for its work in support of women’s emancipation and empowerment
In 2013, in recognition of the numerous initiatives carried out through the 5by20 program, The Coca-Cola Company was awarded the prestigious Catalyst Award. This prize is given every year by Catalyst, the most important non-profit organization in the world concerned with women’s economic emancipation.