Sunday, 30 November 2008

Schweppes Abbey Well

I wrote back to Sanjay Guha of Coca Cola (Great Britain) following his comment on my Pop Goes the Weasel? blog entry:

"Many thanks for taking the time to consider my concerns and send me a response.

I take your points about maintaining local employment and the local base of the company, and I hope that the rationalisation process will permit this.

However you do not address my other concerns about the profit leaving the local economy. I base my comments on the work of the New Economic Foundation 'local multiplier 3' and other work which shows that money spent with locally owned companies contribute to the local economy more than money spent with multi-nationals.

Whilst investment from CCE may support local jobs, the fact remains that the loss of a 'head office' even of a small company from the area, and the region, will be reflected in a reduction in regional GVA - the main measure which Government is using to assess the progress of the region. I don't know whether you can arrange your profit centres to retain the profit from Water & Robson in the North East?"

and he has replied:

"Following our acquisition of the ‘Abbey Well’ natural mineral water source, I am now pleased to be able to share with you the details of Coca-Cola’s plans to develop the brand in the coming months and years.

"From early next year, water extracted at the Morpeth site will be available to consumers as ‘Schweppes Abbey Well’. By combining the track record of ‘Abbey Well’ as a quality natural mineral water, with the world famous, much-loved and iconic ‘Schweppes’ brand, we will give more consumers across Great Britain the chance to enjoy a high quality, British natural mineral water.

"As part of our sponsorship of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, ‘Schweppes Abbey Well’ will be one of the drinks offered at London 2012, meaning fans and athletes alike will be able to enjoy a range of drinks, including soft drinks, bottled water, juices and sports drinks during the games. ‘Schweppes Abbey Well’ will also be encouraging people to get active by offering them the opportunity to go swimming for free with further details to be announced next year.

"‘Schweppes’ has a history of nurturing other well established brands, including Rose’s cordials and Malvern English Water, to grow their sales and retain investment in their local communities. The ‘Coca-Cola System’ hopes to replicate this success in the Morpeth area, using the scale and ambition of The Coca-Cola Company to deliver growth and employment opportunities for local people.

"Now the deal is complete Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), the local employer, will be considering how best to integrate the ‘Abbey Well’ business within the company. At this stage, CCE does not have any plans or proposals regarding the best way to achieve this. The integration could mean job opportunities for many ‘Abbey Well’ employees, however we cannot rule out some job losses. As a responsible employer, CCE will consult fully with ‘Abbey Well’ employees before any decisions are taken.

"I would like to thank you for your reply to my earlier email and address your other concerns.
While ‘Coca-Cola’ may be a famous global brand, we are also very much a British business.
The ‘Coca-Cola System’ operates in many areas across England, Scotland and Wales and we have developed strong relationships with the local communities where we are present. We believe we have a responsibility to the local community and we want to continue to make a positive difference. This includes Morpeth.

"Abbey Well is being integrated into our business structure and I appreciate you may have concerns. However, the Abbey Well business will remain in Morpeth and we will invest in it for growth as Coca-Cola Enterprises, as the local employer, continues to bottle the water here. We firmly believe that our investment will help sustain and build on the success of key business in the North East in the long-term.

"Our contribution to local communities goes beyond our operations. We have our own community investment activities and local community sponsorships, as well as charitable donations, employee volunteering and the provision of in-kind donations.
I hope - and expect - this will be the start of a long and rewarding relationship between The ‘Coca-Cola System’, Abbey Well and the Morpeth community and I hope you will agree that linking the ‘Abbey Well’ brand with ‘Schweppes’ opens up many more possibilities and sets ‘Abbey Well’ on course for a very prosperous future. "