THE very first 'green' facility of Coca-Cola in the Philippines will soon be operational, a high-ranking company executive said.

Located in Misamis Oriental, some 20 kilometers east of Cagayan de Oro City, the Villanueva plant is "expected to be operational in a couple of months," Bill Schultz, chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc., said.

"Construction is on track," he added.

Besides being able to generate jobs in the area, the Misamis Oriental plant also boasts of being Coca-Cola’s first green building in the country.

The softdrink company has installed systems that catch rainwater from its roofs and its lighting systems use environmentally-friendly LED (light-emitting diode) technology, among others.

The plant also boasts of workflow enhancements and vehicle traffic management systems that will allow trucks to load and unload their cargo within 30 minutes.

The facility will able to process 600 bottles per minute for 237ml (milliliters) and 350ml bottles and 300 bottles per minute for one-liter bottles.

Part of the resources used for the purchase of the 11-hectare property and plant construction came from the initial investment committed during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2009.

The rest, including the purchase of machineries and equipment, as well as employee training, were taken from the fresh investment of $1 billion last year.

In September last year, Coca-Cola renewed its commitment to the Philippines with an additional $1 billion investment over the next five years.

This was conveyed by Coca-Cola Pacific Group President Glenn Jordan directly to President Benigno Aquino III while he was in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly and to attract foreign investors to the Philippines.

The investment was intended to strengthen production, distribution, and help develop new products for Filipino consumers.

Without specifying figures, Schultz said the company recorded double-digit growth led by its flagship brand Coca-Cola.

The 7,000-strong Coca-Cola Philippines also trains it sights on strengthening marketing executions and enhancing system capabilities covering logistics and deliveries.

Coca-Cola has been in the Philippines since the beginning of the 20th century and has been locally produced since 1927. The Philippines received the first non-U.S. national Coca-Cola bottling and distribution franchise.

Globally, it is the no. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Consumers in more than 200 countries drink the company’s beverages at a rate of 1.6 billion servings a day. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)