Swire Coca-Cola HK’s ESG campaign turns trash into treasure…


Swire Coca-Cola HK (SCCHK) decided to undertake a major upgrading of its returnable glass bottle production facility in 2021, as part of its long-standing effort towards promoting ESG (environmental, social and governance).

The facility upgrade was a huge undertaking not just for its technical complexities, but also for the handling of the large quantity of existing and iconic red plastic crates given that the new facility would require new plastic crates to carry the newly designed returnable glass bottles.

Rather than disposing of the existing generation of plastic crates, the company had turned “trash into treasure” and leveraged the opportunity to upcycle and give the crates a second life.

As part of the campaign, the company also collaborated with Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s (Poly U) School of Design, one of the city’s top educational institutions boasting a pool of design talent; and long-time partner the Mills, to constantly endeavour to promote sustainability.

Students from Poly U took part in coursework and a competition on sustainable product design: Upcycling Design for Social Inclusion, while the Mills held a month-long exhibition showcasing the “Second lives of crates.”

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The collaboration reflected the company’s two tenets of ESG: to take an educational approach to youth development and to raise public awareness of packaging/waste management.

Poly U design students also researched the social needs and design products using recycled high-density polyethylene (rHDPE) pellets or 3D printing filaments (recycled from the retired crates).

The products, under a theme of “diversity and inclusion,” aimed to promote harmonious relationships among people from different generations, sexual orientations, and abilities, aiming to bring to life the winning product design—a set of clothing clips for the visually-impaired of Hong Kong Society for the Blind.

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As part of the “Second life of crates” exhibition at the Mills, a pop-up corner showcased SCCHK’s returnable glass bottle (RGB) heritage and new RGB production facility. The month-long event, which was open to the general public and regularly hosting media visits, featured an on-site sales corner to introduce the first series of drinks manufactured by the new RGB production line and to present retired crate-shaped storage cases as souvenirs.

In addition to this pair of stalwart SCCHK partners, a number of the city’s most influential NGOs and institutions also benefited from this campaign, including Hong Kong Federation of Youth, Hong Kong Society for the Blind, Ronald McDonald House, Scout Association of Hong Kong, Vocational Training Centre, and YMCA.

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The “Second life of crates” campaign not only turned “trash into treasure,” it also highlighted Swire Coca-Cola HK’s ESG tradition through its ability to bring various stakeholders together, to come up with creative initiatives, and to serve as thought leader for a cause. In killing three birds with one stone, the award-winning campaign served as an ESG benchmark in Hong Kong for years to come.

This article is sponsored by Swire Coca-Cola HK.

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