Linde biogenic CO2: a ‘perfect fit’ for climate work by Coca-Cola in Sweden

Coca-Cola in Sweden has a track record of sustainability innovation, which made Linde a natural partner for local efforts to achieve climate neutral certification.

September 2021 was a great month for Jonas Wittefeldt, Environmental Manager for Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) in Sweden.

It was when he and his colleagues could finally tell the world that Coca-Cola Europacific Partner’s production facility in Sweden had been awarded PAS 2060 certification, an internationally recognized third-party standard for climate neutrality.

“It was really exciting because not many companies in Sweden have it,” he recalls.

The certification, which was officially issued in July, was the result of years of focused efforts led by Wittefeldt and his colleagues. Ultimately, the team succeeded in cutting the plant’s absolute emissions by 64 percent from 3,575 tonnes to 1,274 tonnes in just over five years.

The calculations covered more than 95 percent of the facility’s emissions, including everything from filling bottles and production of beverages to how employees transport themselves to and from the facility.

Biogenic CO2 from Linde

And a critical step in CCEP’s sustainability journey in Sweden was the decision in 2014 to partner with Linde to ensure a reliable supply of biogenic CO2 instead of carbon dioxide sourced from fossil fuel production.

“We’re really happy to have a partner like Linde that shares our commitment to sustainability and can help us be leaders within the Coca-Cola system,” says Wittefeldt, who has been leading the beverage-maker’s environmental work in Sweden since 2011.

The biogenic CO2 Linde delivers to CCEP is derived from Swedish agriculture by-products used in the production of bioethanol at the Lantmännens Agroethanol biofuel refinery located in Norrköping.

Organic waste products that ferment during the process release raw gases, including carbon dioxide. The raw gas is then purified and concentrated at Linde’s neighbouring NORLIC CO2 plant.

After being delivered to the CCEP production facility outside of Stockholm in Jordbro, located only 170 km north, Linde’s biogenic CO2 is then used for all carbonated soft drinks. Nearly 400 million litres of beverages are produced by Coca-Cola in Sweden annually.

The process doesn’t emit any additional CO2 into the atmosphere. In addition, the shorter distance between the two facilities also helped CCEP lower transport costs and further reduce emissions attributed to transportation.

CO2 that meets high quality standards set by Coca-Cola

And while the decision to seek out a partnership with Linde may have been driven primarily by CCEP’s group-wide drive to reach net zero emissions by 2040, the final decision rested on quality and reliability.

Fortunately, for both parties, CCEP’s internal auditors found no difference in quality between the CO2 previously derived from fossil fuel refining and the biogenic CO2 CCEP now gets from Linde in Sweden.

“CO2 is one of the main ingredients in our beverages,” Wittefeldt explains.

“The CO2 we use needs to meet our rigorous quality standards, no matter where it comes from.”

In addition, it’s important for CCEP to have stable, reliable deliveries of CO2, “otherwise our operations would grind to a halt,” says Wittefeldt.

“Thankfully, Linde is a very reliable partner in that regard,” he says, adding there hasn’t been a single glitch in delivery since the two companies began working together.

Local success, global leadership within Coca-Cola system

According to Cathrine Westerlind, Senior Sustainability Manager for CCEP in Sweden, Linde has been a “perfect fit” for the company’s ongoing sustainability work, which also includes switching to 100 percent renewable electricity and using 100 percent recycled plastic for locally produced bottles.

“Biogenic CO2 from Linde is an important piece of the local sustainability puzzle,” she explains.

“It allows us to serve as a role model for our colleagues in other markets. And it’s always rewarding to be considered at the forefront within a big company like Coca-Cola.”

She admits that conditions in Sweden like access to locally produced sugar and renewable electricity – as well as a bottle deposit system that allows producers to collect more than 85 percent of their PET bottles – means CCEP in Sweden can “move further, faster” on sustainability compared to other markets.

But she hopes Sweden can still “lead by example” within the global beverage giant and that local sustainability successes in Sweden can inspire other markets across the globe.

“Our drinks should make as small an impact as possible on the environment and climate,” she says.

“So, we have a responsibility to take full advantage of local conditions here and be an example for what is possible.”