May 19, 2020

How Coca-Cola is improving the world

beverage company
Sumit Modi
3 min
How Coca-Cola is improving the world

Coca-Cola has announced that it has replenished all of the water used in its drinks in 2015.


Through its 248 community water partnership projects, the company returned around 192 billion liters of water, which is over 115 percent of the water used in its beverages last year.

This impressive act is in response to a 2007 War on Want campaign which directly highlighted Coca-Cola’s extensive water usage. Coca-Cola then set a goal of replenishing all water used by 2020, and thanks to its partnerships which spread across 71 different countries, it has achieved it five years early.

This is not the first project that Coca-Cola has undertaken in order to become a more sustainable and responsible company. Here are some of the recent steps the company has taken to give back to communities all over the world.


Earlier this year, Coca-Cola opened its flagship EKOCENTER in Rwanda, which serves as a store and community center. It is designed to serve the local community, enabling thousands of residents 3G coverage and internet access thanks to a new mobile phone tower, healthcare, a water purification system, and a lit football pitch. The centre itself is solar-powered and operated by a female entrepreneur. There are set to be 177 EKOCENTERS across 10 countries by the end of this year.

The Coca-Cola Scholarship Program

This program supports around 1,400 US college students per year by offering $10,000 or $20,000 towards their education. High school seniors with a minimum 3.0 GPA can apply for the program. It allows opportunities for promising students who may not otherwise have the means to attend university; Coca-Cola funnels $3.4 million each year through its various national programs.

Coke it Forward

Coke it Forward – based on the concept of ‘paying it forward’ – is a system which puts the ability to make a change into the customer’s hands. The company added donation technology to vending machines on college campuses, allowing students to buy one Coke and give one to somebody in need. While customers will be charged for two drinks and receive only one themselves, Coca-Cola matches the donation with another two, meaning that three in total are donated when just two are paid for.

Worldwide donations

In 2015, Coca-Cola donated $84.5 million to communities in over 70 countries through grants which benefitted 300 different organizations. 95 percent of those grants are focused on the company’s key priorities of women, water, and well-being: $5.5 million went to women’s empowerment initiatives, $26.5 million to water and environmental initiatives, $48 million to more general community initiatives like education and healthcare, and $4.3 million for community improvement, arts and culture, and humanitarian issues.


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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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