Source: Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

CCEP is replacing its fleet of material handling equipment with units powered by lithium ion batteries

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners is splashing £11m on a sustainability-led upgrade of its British manufacturing sites.

The soft drinks giant is to replace its entire 200-strong fleet of material handling equipment (MHE) – which includes gas-powered forklift trucks – with units powered by lithium ion batteries that produce no carbon emissions.

It claims the move will reduce CCEP’s carbon emissions by more than 1,500 tonnes per year. The supplier is targeting net zero emissions by 2040.

CCEP has partnered with MHE manufacturer Linde Material Handling to introduce the new fleet, which “will not only be powered solely by renewable electricity, but is also more efficient and safer to operate”. 

The new MHE can be charged in two hours without having to remove the battery, compared to the eight hours required to charge the outgoing machinery. 

This meant “top-up charges can be completed during break times”, said CCEP, leading to “a significant increase in efficiency in a fleet that operates for more than half a million hours each year”.

The fleets at its Morpeth and Milton Keynes facilities have already made the transition, while training for the introduction of a 76-strong fleet at its Wakefield site – the largest soft drinks production site by volume in Europe – has begun. CCEP said it expects to complete the project by 2024.

No jobs will be lost with the move. It marked “a really significant step in making our GB bottling and distribution operations cleaner, greener and more efficient”, said project lead Frank Denvir.

“With the major climate conference COP26 taking place at the moment, all businesses need to go further to reduce their environmental impact and help the UK government achieve its net zero targets,” added CCEP VP and GM Stephen Moorhouse.