A NEW DIRECTOR AT THE HELM OF COCA-COLA PRODUCTION IN SOCX (DUNKIRK), THE LARGEST SITE OF THE 5 PLANTS IN FRANCE
DKP: Coca-Cola has been operating in Dunkirk for many years. Can you tell us about its history?
“Our Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) plant in Socx, near Dunkirk, is the largest site of the 5 factories in France and 90% of its production is consumed in France. Production at the Socx site is mainly intended for France, but we also export our Dunkirk products to Benelux, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Great Britain. The plant opened in 1989 with a single drinks line and 100 employees. We currently produce no less than 10 brands with a wide range of fizzy and still drinks and formats, in glass, rPET and cans. Our 400 employees produce numerous brands such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Fuze Tea iced teas, Tropico fruit drinks, and soon Monster energy drinks.
DKP: Why is the Coca-Cola group reinvesting in its Socx site (Dunkirk)?
“These developments are in line with CCEP’s drinks portfolio diversification strategy. Since 2018, we have invested 100 million euros in the Dunkirk site. These investments are a continuation of the business we have been building for many years in the Hauts-de-France. We are based in a territory that has a strong industrial tradition, transport infrastructures and is geographically close to our raw materials. We work with a dynamic local ecosystem so that our products are Made in France. In fact, we could almost say that they are “made in Hauts-de-France”. Indeed, our main suppliers are local, for example, the cans come from Ball Packaging, the PET preforms from Plastipak in Bierne and the sugar from Tereos in Béthune.”
DKP: Does the site take actions to protect the environment, reduce waste or its carbon footprint?
“When it comes to our climate ambition and carbon neutrality by 2040, we are implementing many innovations in our plant, such as the launch in 2022 of small 50 cl bottles in 100% recycled PET or the replacement of plastic films on can packs with a cardboard clip, which will help us to save 900 tonnes of plastic over-packaging per year. We’ve also put in place many initiatives to reduce energy consumption, such as the installation a heat recovery system in 2021.”
DKP: Have you found the skills necessary for the site’s development?
“These developments and innovations would not have been possible without the skills and experience of our teams, operators, technicians, project leaders and managers. Dunkirk is known for the quality of its industrial workforce and demonstrates true retention of skills, which supports the group’s strategy in the long term. We have teams, men and women, who are committed, experienced and very proud of their plant and the brands it produces. This is the fruit of the success of our local roots, which have been around for more than 30 years in the Hauts-de-France and more particularly in Dunkirk.”
DKP: You have just taken over the management of the Socx plant, what is your career history?
“A general engineer (University of Technology of Compiègne, 2001), I have 20 years of experience in France and abroad in the consumer packaged goods sector and thus I bring in-depth knowledge of operations and continuous improvement. Before joining Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), I worked for 10 years at Kimberly-Clark Europe for several European countries. At CCEP, I led industrial operations at a plant in Sweden and technical services facilities in France. I wish to continue developing the skills of our factory employees, achieve excellence in reliability and take advantage of the characteristic values of the Dunkirk territory to develop the site’s local industrial base and thus accelerate its carbon neutrality.”