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Coca-Cola Vietnam opens new EKOCENTER in Dong Thap

Released at: 16:35, 18/09/2017

Coca-Cola Vietnam opens new EKOCENTER in Dong Thap

Photo: Coca-Cola

Third EKOCENTER in the Mekong Delta and seventh in Vietnam to improve access to safe drinking water by local communities.

by Hai Van

Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam marked another milestone in Vietnam on September 18 with the launch of an EKOCENTER in the Mekong Delta’s Dong Thap province.

Mr. Derk Hendriksen, Vice President and General Manager of EKOCENTER and Coca-Cola Vietnam representatives joined the Dong Thap Provincial People’s Committee and the Vietnam Women’s Economic Council (VWEC) at the opening, the seventh such facility in the country and the third in the Mekong Delta.

The launch underscores Coca-Cola’s focus on helping improve access to safe drinking water for communities in the area.

Water quality in the Mekong Delta has declined in recent years due to severe drought and saltwater intrusion brought on by climate change, as well as pollution caused by improper wastewater, solid waste, and pesticide discharges. Through the EKOCENTER, Coca-Cola will enable access to safe and clean drinking water, with a water treatment system that can purify up to 6,000 liters of water a day.

“Our aim has always been to make a positive and lasting difference in the communities where we are present,” said Mr. Hendriksen. “With water an important pillar in our sustainability initiatives, we believe it our duty to help the people of the Mekong Delta region have safe and sustainable access to this most vital of resources.”

The new EKOCENTER further demonstrates the company’s continued commitment to supporting women entrepreneurship to spur social and economic development and empower communities.

Setting a precedent for future facilities, the Dong Thap site will be the first EKOCENTER to be run by a female entrepreneur, under the social enterprise model. The model is expected to facilitate more fruitful activities for communities as well as create shared values for local women entrepreneurs and female workers. Part of the profits gained will therefore be reinvested into social programs at the EKOCENTER to contribute sustainable values for the community.

Taking charge of the EKOCENTER is Ms. Ta Thu Thuy, who was recommended by VWEC for the important task. With guidance from Coca-Cola on how to operate a social enterprise as well as working closely with VWEC in the sustainable business plan, Ms. Thuy will manage public services and other business activities at the center to meet the shared goal of supporting a better life for local communities.

The Dong Thap EKOCENTER will be a hub of community activity in the province. Following the center’s 3-in-1 modular design, the facility will have a kiosk that sells basic goods, a community house equipped with a library and computers, and a recreation area. The EKOCENTER is envisioned to be an ideal venue for community members to gather for activities such as skills training and e-learning, sporting events, and engaging with neighbors. The kiosk roof’s solar panels will be able to generate enough green energy to maintain daily activities at the facility, including providing free wi-fi.

“The EKOCENTER will certainly spur more community activities in Dong Thap, enhancing the living environment while encouraging people to take part in learning opportunities to enhance their skills and capabilities,” said Mr. Chau Hong Phuc, Deputy Chairman of the Dong Thap Provincial People Committee.

“We also appreciate the center’s social enterprise model, as it fosters interest in entrepreneurship among our community members. The presence of the EKOCENTER will also encourage more organizations to invest in our community via similar sustainable projects.”

“The Dong Thap facility’s social enterprise model also showcases how the three key pillars of Coca-Cola’s sustainability priorities - water, women, and wellbeing - can be present in one EKOCENTER platform,” Mr. Hendriksen said.

The highlight of the EKOCENTER launch was the awarding of certificates of completion to female trainees who took part in the entrepreneurship e-learning program conducted by VWEC and Coca-Cola.

As an integral part of the 5by20 initiative, Coca-Cola’s commitment to enabling the economic empowerment of women, the e-learning program provided 30 local female entrepreneurs with valuable business skills training that will help them in starting or managing their own enterprise.

“We would like to commend Coca-Cola for making its e-learning program available to the women in our communities, who have been inspired with entrepreneurship and startup ideas to create more values for themselves, their family, and the community,” said Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, Chairwoman of VWEC.

EKOCENTER is a global initiative conducted by Coca-Cola in partnership with public and private sector organizations. In Vietnam, the first EKOCENTER was launched in 2015 and six were in operation by the end of 2016, in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Da Nang, Ha Long city, Ben Tre, and An Giang. Coca-Cola will establish 12 more EKOCENTERS around the country by the end of 2018.

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