Collaborate and empower

By promoting several programmes around the world, Coca-Cola İçecek harnesses the power of business to change our world for the better.



"I believe in the power of business to change our world for the better. Not in theory, not in the distant future, but right now. And it comes down to companies and individuals doing something extraordinary in the ordinary course of doing business.” Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company

Inspiring youth in Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan to get moving – actually, physically – and to keep moving throughout their lives is the goal of 3.2.1 Move! A meaningful programme initiated by Coca-Cola İçecek (CCI) in partnership with Mercy Corps, 3.2.1 Move! is another example of how CCI remains committed to improving the lives of those who live in the communities we serve.

We know our business can only be as strong, sustainable and healthy as the communities we proudly serve. CCI’s well-being is wholly interwoven with the well-being of all our stakeholders, including our consumers, our partners, and our dedicated staff members. This philosophy guides us in every initiative and partnership we engage in, ensuring that our objectives regarding corporate social responsibility remain suitably aligned with our business strategy and capabilities.

CCI’s sustainability strategy is based on The Coca-Cola Company’s global sustainability framework and the materiality analysis we conducted with our internal and external stakeholders. Promoting active and healthy lifestyles in our communities, especially for youth, is one of the promises we give to our stakeholders.

It is also one of the main focuses of CCI’s community investment programs which focus on inspiring, empowering, and engaging a generation of youth as to the importance of leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Put into practice, our investment into communities includes projects and programmes such as 3.2.1 Move! in Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan, the Active Family Project in Azerbaijan, and the Coca-Cola Grassroots Football Tournaments in several countries – all of which are making a real difference in the lives of tens of thousands of young people.

Launching the 3.2.1 Move! programme

We developed 3.2.1 Move! in 2013 with the aim of supporting the social and physical development of young people, raising their awareness of the benefits of adopting an active, healthy lifestyle, and helping them to develop a lifelong habit of physical activity. So far, we have touched the lives of nearly 80,000 young people in Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq through this valuable programme, and we will continue to expand it in 2015 and beyond in order to reach thousands more.

Investing in the infrastructure of schools, promoting physical education for young people and helping coaches and youth motivate and lead their peers to become physically active, the 3.2.1 Move! story began in October 2013 in Turkey. We identified physical education teachers as the key stakeholders and change agents of this programme, so we reached out directly to educators who were invited to discuss opportunities for helping young people to become more active. The result was fantastic: an inspired, motivated and committed group of coaches starting a movement destined to bring joy and the benefits of physical activity to young people throughout the country.

How the programme works in Turkey

Since its inception, 3.2.1 Move! has expanded from three to eight provinces in Turkey. As many as 285 public schools have applied to participate, with 72 of these receiving assistance from the programme inspiring and empowering teachers, creating indoor and outdoor facilities, providing sports equipment for students and organising sports festivals. To date, more than 50,000 students have benefited.

3.2.1 Move! provides not only fun spaces where young people can be active but also the opportunity to learn and connect with others. Programme results reveal that when young people are given new activities and upgraded school facilities, they start to participate in quality physical education.

The goal is to transform schools into active and healthy habitats through projects that include opportunities for youngsters to develop, physically as well as socially. In practice, physical education teachers share innovative ideas that serve their school best – from turning an abandoned indoor area into a dance studio to creating an outdoor space for games such as bocce, korfball, badminton, volleyball and basketball.

Based on field research conducted so far, the programme has not only increased the time spent pursuing physical activities, but it has also significantly increased the self-confidence and self-esteem of many young people while strengthening peer relationships. Today, 80 per cent of teenagers involved in 3.2.1 Move! say they exercise more because of the programme, and 66 per cent say that activities related to the programme have made a positive impact on their friendships.

Expanding into Pakistan and Iraq

Based on the success of the programme in Turkey, CCI partnered with Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organisation that empowers people to recover from crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good, to help bring 3.2.1 Move! to Pakistan and Iraq. The initiative in these countries is unique because not only does 3.2.1 Move! emphasise physical activity, it also aims to enhance life and leadership skills. One goal of the programme, for instance, is to support and encourage mentorships in order to support the positive development of youngsters. To achieve this goal, 3.2.1 Move! is teaching the youth teamwork, leadership and communication skills.

In 2014, the 3.2.1 Move! programme has trained 186 youth leaders aged  between 15 and 19 and 86 coaches to spearhead the programme in Pakistan and Iraq. In turn, these coaches and leaders have gone on to train more than 5,000 young people to become community leaders in their own right. In these countries, the programme focuses on low-income communities where after-school programmes, educational development opportunities and sports programmes are in short supply.

In both Iraq and Pakistan, there are many security issues and challenges for young people. 3.2.1 Move! offers them a safe space to gather, learn from and connect with each other. Each week, youth leaders guide their teams in physical activities and games which address the programme’s core themes of teamwork, leadership and communication.

These leaders begin to run their very own projects, upgrading school facilities, increasing awareness of health issues and even organising sports activities and competitions. They share what they have learned and otherwise help their community members to become healthier and more active.

So far, these volunteers have implemented 127 events across Pakistan and Iraq promoting physical activity and leadership, reaching more than 40,000 people. This incredible experience has significantly increased volunteers’ confidence and has garnered the respect of the community. An impressive 80 per cent of youngsters participating in 3.2.1 Move! claim to be more physically active than they were before becoming involved with the programme. Moreover, parents are reporting significant positive changes in their children, with 90 per cent saying that their children are more active and 60 per cent saying their children are healthier.

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Image: CCI

Creating a successful CSR programme

Based on our experience with 3.2.1 Move!, we have identified the following key drivers for creating a successful CSR programme:

Know your issues: Your strategic CSR investment must be focused on one or more issues for which you actually have the capability to create value and on which you are expected to act. CCI’s 3.2.1 Move! is a highly strategic programme, not only as far as creating social value for thousands of young people but also as far as providing CCI with a genuine platform from which we can engage with key stakeholders such as public health authorities on matters regarding physical activity and the fight against obesity. As a part of the programme, we organise regional sports festivals in collaboration with local municipalities and local public health authorities.

Meltem is a fifth-grade student from Turkey. Explaining how the programme inspired her to adopt an active and healthier lifestyle, she says:

“I have sinusitis and asthma. I was overweight, but I lost 25 kilos as a result of athletics and football. Now, I am more active than before. I exercise 10 hours a week, including my PE classes.”

Focus on the impact on society: There is no short cut or easy win when it comes to creating social value. From the very beginning, your programme needs to be designed in such a way that it actually, positively influences the lives of people. If it does not add value to the community, it won’t add value to your business.

Hala, a youth leader from Al-Sefeena High School for Girls in Iraq, shares with us her views, offering some insight as to the social impact that is delivered by the programme:

“It felt great planning and doing events aimed at making our school more beautiful! For the first time I learned how to work as part of a team, dividing tasks and helping each other to get the best possible results.”

Collaborate and empower: Social problems are complex, and so are their solutions. Partnerships may provide solutions to those complex social problems, but in order for them to be effective you must understand precisely what motivates your partners and then empower and equip them with right tools so that they can become your change agents. Physical education teachers, coaches, and youth leaders in our programme are great examples of effective change agents.

Sitara Saqib, a 3.2.1 Move! programme coach from Sadar School in Pakistan, says:

The programme gives me confidence to organise an event and improve my management skills. I wasn’t expecting so much contribution in organising from students. But it was like every student was playing her role in making the event successful.”

Innovate: It is unlikely that existing methods will always solve existing problems. Corporations are generally very dynamic and require innovative solutions to business problems. Likewise, you will be best served by adopting an innovative mindset while developing any strategic CSR programme. Corporations have more valuable assets than cash to offer communities, so tap into your company’s talent pool to uncover untapped innovation as one way to aid in solving problems.

Engage your employees: seeing is believing. We were able to demonstrate the power of the programme to our employees and company executives only after encouraging them to participate in it. Employees adopted a few schools in the vicinity of our offices, donating cash and sports equipment to improve them. Moreover, we organised sports days in those schools, and our employees participated enthusiastically.

Corporations increasingly realise that future success will depend on adhering to sound business models and engaging in partnerships that improve the wellbeing of all stakeholders in their value chain. In this light, corporations can no longer afford to treat corporate social responsibility as only corporate philanthropy. Instead, CSR must feature at the front and centre of any meaningful growth strategy.

Aykan Gulten

Aykan Gulten is corporate affairs director at Coca-Cola İçecek (CCI) Turkey, which is the fifth-largest bottler in the Coca-Cola System in terms of sales volume. CCI produces, distributes and sells sparkling and still beverages across Turkey, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Tajikistan.