Coke's living, breathing billboard fights air pollution

The 3,600-square-foot advertisement is part of Coca-Cola's mission to go green -- and make more green as a result.

By InvestorPlace Jun 29, 2011 10:45AM

Image: Coca-Cola billboard in the Philippines made of thousands of tea plants (© Lory Tan/WWF)Coca-Cola Co. (KO) is one of the most innovative companies on the planet. According to some accounts, Coke is responsible for the proliferation of the six-pack and even the image of the modern Santa Claus as we know it, thanks to its yearly holiday ad campaigns.


That spirit of innovation and creativity at Coke lives on in green business practices and environmentally friendly products for the 21st century. While Coca-Cola certainly does plenty of things to decrease its carbon footprint, perhaps none is more spectacular than its recent construction of a 3,600-square-foot living billboard.


Made from recycled bottles and thousands of tea plants, the billboard takes Coke's green streak to another level.


In partnership with the World Wildlife Federation, Coca-Cola unveiled the billboard late last week in the capital of the Philippines. Measuring 60 feet by 60 feet in downtown Manila, the structure is made of tea plants that are arranged to form the world-famous curves of a Coke bottle. Thousands of plants grow in organic fertilizer contained in pots that were once bottles. The sign reads, "This billboard absorbs air pollutants" -- a nod to the fact that the Fukien strain of tea plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.

According to AdWeek, the billboard is growing all the time and will eventually be able to suck out 46,800 pounds of carbon dioxide from the city's air each year.


This is certainly an eye-catching campaign and will grab attention like few billboards could. It's also part of a recent effort by Coke to make itself more eco-friendly.

 

Last year, the company launched low-emission Coke vending machines, meant to reduce greenhouse gasses created by the machines keeping drinks cool constantly. It also rolled out a plant-based polymer that cut petroleum use in its plastic bottles. The company has also worked on sustainable water practices at its beverage plants to use less H2O.

 

Sound like a lot of tree-hugging fluff? Well, business insiders know that going green is as much about the bottom line as it is about a company's image. Sustainable water practices are a way to become more efficient, using less water and paying less as a result.


Plant-based bottles reduce dependency on oil, and these days that could wind up being a profitable move for Coca-Cola. In short, going green can make big corporations plenty of green in the process.

Consider the massive Manila billboard. The fact that reports about the crazy structure are branching across cyberspace is proof that Coke got what it wanted -- publicity that would cause a splash.

 

Other businesses would do well to take note of Coca-Cola's eco-friendly focus. Because while all of these clever efforts are good for the environment, they are also going to be very good for Coke's bottom line.

 

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21Comments
Jun 29, 2011 12:01PM
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"a nod to the fact that the Fukien strain of tea plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen."

Ummm... EVERY plant takes in CO2 and puts out O2. Its called photosynthesis.  Ya know, basic 7th grade science?
Jun 29, 2011 12:16PM
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The world would be a less polluted place if they went back to returnable glass bottles instead of disposable plastic bottles.
Jun 29, 2011 12:45PM
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Please billchill go back to school, evergreens do utilize photosynthesis to grow. This absorbs Carbon dioxide. Trees and all other plants (except for a few on volcanic vents and the titanic ?(microbial communities ) utilize carbon dioxide to grow and fix carbon into their structures Starches, sugars, resins, cellulose.

Oxygen is frequently referred to as O2. It is a diatomic molecule.

 

Not all gases are diatomic, although some of the more common ones like
N2, O2,and the halogens ...  This was intended for Grades : 9-12

Jun 29, 2011 12:18PM
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Billchill... if O2 isn't oxygen, what is it?

And FYI, pine needles are green because of the chlorophyll, the key component that allows for photosynthesis (the conversion of CO2 and water to sugar and oxygen).  ALL PLANTS by their nature perform photosynthesis and thus convert CO2 and O2 (oxygen).

Don't believe me? Check out wiki or any other source.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthetic

Jun 29, 2011 12:35PM
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Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!?  No way!!!!  Does Al Gore know this???  Maybe we don't have to buy his carbon credits after all.
Jun 29, 2011 1:45PM
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billchill, where did you go to school?  Just curious, I don't want to waste my money and my kids lives by sending them there.
Jun 29, 2011 12:10PM
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Sadly, the 6 HID lamps, probably 458 watts each, most likely the energy to run those lamps will produce more carbon than the plants will absorb. So it is symbolic only...  This is very common in the environmental movement... feeling good or looking good is more important than being good. CFLs, Palm oil, Ethanol, Etc.. all are bad ideas but someone is making money, the environment is being hurt and gullible people are lulled into feeling good about it. Why not pour toxic die into the ocean that spells out "stop pollution"... it's the same thing.
Jun 29, 2011 2:19PM
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Coca-Cola Company = Eco Friendly

Coca-Cola Product = Human Unfriendly

Jun 29, 2011 3:29PM
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Somebody beat me to it but billchill, when oxygen is talked about in the atmosphere, it is 99% meaning O2, not its other common form in the atmosphere, ozone.  It is part of the 7 diatomic elements (do you remember 7 on 7 to remember them)  Just take out your periodic table and start on 7 then make a 7 and include hydrogen. (hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine) Your lack of chemistry knowledge is quite entertaining.  You probably would support the banning of dihydrogen monoxide because of all the damage it does to the earth.

But I guess since we stayed in school past the 7th grade, we know this.

Jun 29, 2011 12:45PM
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So first of all....as they teach you in school wiki is not a reliable resource.

Second to Clarify...Co2 is used for photosynthesis-food, but celluar respiration occurs by uptake of oxygen and release of CO2. http://

users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/G/GasExchange.html#Density_of_Stomata

To also further clarify plant based plastics are a known marketing tool and nothing more.  The end result is still a non-biodegradable polluting plastic that likely will end up in the pacific ocean and is no different in structure or function than regular petroleum based plastics.  These companies are just exploiting a different source, the end product has not changed.

Anyone with basic understanding of how plants really work will appreciate them a lot more.

 

Jun 29, 2011 3:33PM
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I think this bill board is a great.  Big corporations should be looking for ways to decrease their own carbon footprint.  But as far as the plant-based polymer that cut petroleum use - they are not recycle able at all.  At lease the other bottle could be recycled.  If you throw a coke bottle into your recycle bin, when it hits the recycling center, it goes straight to the dump. 
Jun 29, 2011 4:34PM
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How will they water it? That is, if it doesnt rain.
Jun 29, 2011 7:17PM
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How odd.  Judging from my last post, people really like billboards here.  Takes all kinds, I guess.  (I still hate them.)
Jun 29, 2011 3:51PM
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If Coke WERE really doing anything to lessen their footprint......they wouldn't make plastic bottles that they have to reuse in a billboard......and they wouldn't be using Monsanto corn syrup, which is destroying the earth as you can see by the filthy water we have due to chemical runoff, or use aspartame in their product.....what a crock.......they ship plastics all over the world, logistically they use a ton of oil, they use Monsanto corn syrup, which those farming practices use more oil than ever along with the chemical runoff's that are destroying our waters.....this is so stupid.....big corporations are not looking to decrease anything but bad PR.......and they sell a product that makes people fat adding to our obesity problem........I don't drink soda's...they are crap...and once they figured out ppl were not drinking soda's......they decided to sell us filtered tap water in a what? PLASTIC BOTTLE! Lessen their footprint..........anyone who thinks that is a moron!
Jun 29, 2011 6:56PM
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"Global Warming" is a SCAM!! "Carbon Footprints" is  slang for: LibRetards will believe any **** that they are told to think"!!  Freaking Idiots!! And anyone who believes in that crap, is Still a RETARD!!
Jun 29, 2011 1:55PM
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COCA COLA has always had the BEST SANTA and I hope they do not let some idiot come in and change it.It's perfect the way it is.You change your SANTA  and you will hurt your market share.Leave this image alone!!.
Jun 29, 2011 1:38PM
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Um?  Isn't the billboard part of the pollution? 

 

It's defeating the purpose of being against pollution.

 

Too funny

Jun 29, 2011 12:09PM
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Coke is proliferating the lie that CO2 is a pollutant.

By the EPA definition of "Air pollutant" it is

.

Justice Stevens said that "

the Clean Air Act’s definition of the term "air pollutant" "embraces all airborne compounds of whatever stripe." and

"Because greenhouse gases fit well within the Act’s capacious definition of ‘air pollutant"

He was being polite.

The EPA definition is obtuse. I like the product Coca-Cola, But I think I will now boycott Coke

and just buy the cheap generic cola, so much for "Coke's bottom line"

Fukien Tea plants and all other plants need this "pollution"

Jun 29, 2011 12:36PM
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What a bunch of b.s.! Coke is another victim(?) of the "global warming" Scam. How retarded.
Jun 29, 2011 11:37AM
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Okay, so it's a green billboard, but it's still a billboard, a blight upon the countryside (or even the cityscape).  I hate those things.  They're ugly and there is nothing about them that benefits mankind, CO2-sucking tea plants or otherwise.
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