Ha Long, March 25, 2016, The Women’s Union of Ha Phong Ward, in cooperation with the People’s Committee of Ha Phong Ward, Ha Long City, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Coca-Cola Vietnam today officially launched Vietnam’s 4th EKOCENTER in Ha Phong Ward. 

The event marked an important milestone in the EKOCENTER program as this was the world’s 100th EKOCENTER and also the only center connected with the Ha Long-Cat Ba Alliance. The Alliance is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and aims to support action to improve environmental management of Ha Long Bay and the Cat Ba Archipelago. It is implemented by IUCN and Center of Marine life and Community Development (MCD).

Mr. Vamsi Mohan, Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Vietnam, said “EKOCENTER has become a success story of the “Golden Triangle” model of collaboration between business, government and civil society. Each EKOCENTER not only offers standard benefits, but can be used to address the needs of the local community. In Ha Long, together with our partners, the shared vision of environmental protection and sustainable use of resources is helping us create a better life for local residents.”

Developed as a result of partnership between the Government, NGOs and other private sector companies, EKOCENTER is a global initiative of the Coca-Cola Company to bring clean water, solar power, community centers, and activities to local communities. At the EKOCENTER in Ha Phong, the program has collaborated with USAID, IUCN and MCD.

Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Archipelago are recognized as two of Vietnam’s most economically and ecologically important areas, renowned for their scenic beauty and biological importance. The Ha Long-Cat Ba Alliance initiative aims to preserve the natural integrity of these globally significant sites and to build a partnership between government, business, and community leaders that catalyzes action to preserve and protect Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Archipelago. Coca-Cola’s EKOCENTER initiative plays an important role in efforts of Ha Long-Cat Ba Alliance initiative by improving community living standards, increasing public awareness and protecting the ocean environment and resources,” said Christopher Abrams, Director of USAID’s Environment and Social Development Office.

Based on the 3-in-1 model with a kiosk, a community house and a sports area, this EKOCENTER is located in a resettlement for fishermen. The center features a new community house with a library, classroom and computer facilities, which will double as a training site for the local residents. In addition, the solar powered kiosk provides enough energy to maintain daily activities at the EKOCENTER, including the water treatment system that purifies about 6,000 liters of water every day. 

One of the center’s main purposes is to empower local women. The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) will cooperate with Coca-Cola to provide a “Business Start-up” course to provide sales training courses for members.  A female resident was also chosen to operate the center after receiving an initial capital and training to start the business at the kiosk.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy, President of Women’s Union of Ha Phong Ward said: “EKOCENTER contributed to positive change for the community. Most of the residents in this resettlement were fishing households living and working in Ha Long Bay. They were persuaded to move and settle on land for a better life. However, most of them haven’t adapted to the new environment, having no regular income and really being in need of essential support like purified water, an exercise area, a community house for cultural activities, training on social and environmental awareness. We hope that this model will continue spreading so that more people can benefit from the project.”

The EKOCENTER project started in 2013 and is on track to have over 177 sites worldwide by mid-2016. In Vietnam, the EKOCENTER is expected to be launched in 7 locations across Vietnam in 2016, including Hanoi, Da Nang, Ha Long, the Mekong Delta and many other cities and provinces nationwide. 

For more details, please contact:

Mr. Nguyen Khoa My

Director – Public Affairs and Communications

Coca-Cola Viet Nam

Telephone: +84 918 010 500

Email: mnguyenkhoa@coca-cola.com

About The Coca-Cola Company:

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our Company's portfolio features 17 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, Vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.9 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo or visit our blog Coca-Cola Unbottled at www.coca-colablog.com or find us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company.

About Coca-Cola Vietnam

Coca-Cola is one of the best-known international brands in Vietnam. Coca-Cola Vietnam's factories in Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang and Hanoi recruit about 2,500 employees, more than 99% of whom are Vietnamese. The Company's portfolio in Vietnam includes Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light, Coke Zero, Sprite, Fanta, Minute Maid Nutriboost, Minute Maid Teppy, Schweppes, Dasani and Aquarius. Coca-Cola Vietnam has considered sustainable development as the core of its business activities which include organizing safe and healthy working environment, setting priority to training employees. Several sustainable development projects were also expressed by detailed goals of energy saving, effective water use and water balance. Coca-Cola continues building sustainable communities in locations where the company operates. From 2010, Coca-Cola has invested more than USD 5.5m in community projects in Vietnam, including projects building EKOCENTER, providing clean water, empowering women, supporting families in hardship, and sending disaster relief through Vietnam Red Cross.

About IUCN Viet Nam

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has a long history in Viet Nam since the middle of 1980s. In 1993, Vietnamese Government became an IUCN state member and IUCN Viet Nam Country Office also opened on the same year. Since then, IUCN has made important contribution to biodiversity conservation and environmental protection, primarily through support to the development of laws and policies such as National Biodiversity Action Plan (1995), Law on Forest Protection (2004), Law on Environmental Protection (2005), the Biodiversity Law (2008). In addition, IUCN works with partners to both support and bring pressure to increase transparency and accountability of government. Our partners include the National Assembly, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration, ministries, and businesses, and local NGOs. 

IUCN works in two main thematic areas: water and wetlands and coastal and marine. Our programs include the formation of multi-stakeholder groups to supervise project activities, support local NGOs though small grant financing, finance pilot projects to test improved practices, improve the quality of environmental news, engaging business to improve their environmental performance, and cooperate with provincial governments to demonstrate the benefits of nature-based solutions to environmental problems. IUCN also implements the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) programme in the Indo-Burma Hotspot