Coke goes green

I love Coca-Cola. Not so much the soft drink in the red and white can (although I do drink lots of Diet Coke), but the corporate entity headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. I own just a small handful of their stock shares, but it’s enough to make me pay attention to what’s going on with their business. And the story I came across today made me glad that I do.

Coke’s business model depends on the operation of an enormous fleet of trucks. Whenever I go to a grocery store, it seems like there’s a Coke truck somewhere nearby, unloading pallet after pallet after pallet of all the brands they sell. These trucks are hardly fuel efficient, since they have to be large enough to carry all that cargo around.

When gas is a dollar or two a gallon, maybe those trucks aren’t so expensive to run. But when gas is in the four dollar a gallon range–and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever see it lower than that again–the operating costs are much higher. Multiply that by all the thousands of trucks that Coke operates, and there’s a clear incentive to cut costs by becoming more fuel efficient. When they go green, they’ll save green, and then they’ll put that money back into their shareholders’ pockets.

Coke has hired a company called Navistar to build the kind of all-electric, zero emission trucks that they want. When your market cap is upwards of $150 billion, you can hire whoever you want. These new AFVs (alternative fuel vehicles) are going to be rolled out–no pun intended–in limited numbers at first, but if the idea catches on we’ll be sure to see more of these new trucks on the street.

Maybe other companies will decide to follow Coke’s lead, and the much-needed movement away from fossil fuels will pick up some momentum. That can only help the planet, which seems to need all the help it can get right now. If and when this takes place, I’ll definitely have a Coke and a smile.

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