Last year saw National Beverage Company (NBC), an enormously successful Palestinian Coca-Cola/Cappy franchise company, reflect upon its support of community initiatives over the years and how its business has gone from strength to strength. In this follow up article, Middle East Business has been back to see the exciting developments that have occurred recently to this “local and global” business.
Few can deny the fact that Coca-Cola plays a significant role in the daily lives of many in the Middle East, consistently “beverage of choice” for people of all ages. Palestine is no different and Coke’s unmistakeable logo is seen frequently in restaurants, homes and offices.
National Beverage Company has been an integral part in the growth and availability of the global beverage brand in Palestine. Becoming main producer of Coca-Cola and Cappy drinks in both the West Bank and Gaza has been a struggle and the business works relentlessly to mitigate the disruption brought about by the illegal occupation of Palestine.
The company reached an important milestone late last year, and to mark it saw the launch of a brand new headquarters to coincide with the 15th birthday celebrations. Built in Betunia, near Ramallah, this building is testament to the hard work and continuous investment NBC have put into the country and its people over the years. It also stands as a shining beacon, showing businesses of all sizes that with the right ethics and social responsibility, other Palestinian enterprises can become as valued and respected as NBC.
Product, Society and Partners
In our previous article we spoke about the investment and support NBC provides for local youth, sports and health organisations, ensuring that the youth of today who will become the adults of tomorrow live healthy, fulfilled, well educated lives in a safe and clean environment – taking care of the future of Palestine.
As part of their commitment to developing sport in Palestine, NBC’s launch of its new headquarters also saw the arrival of the World Cup trophy at its first port of call on its tour around the Middle East. Participants at the press conference got chance to meet a football legend, Gabriel Calderon, travelling as a guest of FIFA to accompany the trophy.
At a follow up event aimed specifically at school and university students, young Palestinians were invited to see (and have pictures taken next to) the trophy, which is on a tour of 88 cities in the nine months leading up to World Cup 2014 in Brazil. NBC made it a fun day for attendees with lots of peripheral activities and a goody bag, with Imad Al-Hindi, General Manager, underlining the fact that this unique experience should inspire them to make the very best of their lives and that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.
Putting Palestine on the global beverage map
NBC take an active role in the corporate events organised by Coca-Cola for its partner organisations. It recently topped a regional competition in the Middle East for Coca-Cola International partner bottling organisations. The award, which recognises that NBC has achieved Coca-Cola’s gold standard in quality, market development and sales, saw NBC’s monthly market figures monitored.
Mr Al-Hindi publicly congratulated all employees of NBC for their efforts in helping the organisation achieve this prestigious award. Providing consistently high quality products that conform to internationally recognised specifications has brought success once again for this trailblazing Palestinian business. The company has regularly pledged to be at the forefront of its sector and provide only the highest quality products for the people of Palestine and its local markets.
This is not the first success NBC have achieved in global competitions – and they vow it will not be the last time that they will top the rankings regionally. In 2011, NBC won the “Sustainable Award”, and the “Best Environmental Performance” (Eurasia and Africa region) but their greatest success came late in 2013 as it completed the “Top 10” Energy Saving Challenge.
Thanks to a massive 22% energy reduction of energy compared with 2008 levels, NBC was named as a top performing businesses in the Energy Saving Challenge, launched jointly by Coca-Cola Company and World Wildlife Fund. The challenge targets 850 manufacturing sites across all continents in eleven different languages. Running since 2007, the challenge aims to conserve water and this strikes a chord with many living and working in the Middle East. In countries where water is an essential element that is often in short supply, either due to natural phenomenon (eg. drought) or more often than not, due to human intervention (illegal rerouting of water supplies, polluted supplies, leaking supply pipes) or industrial overuse.
By at the same time improving water efficiency and reducing the impact that climate can have throughout the company’s supply chain, this helps businesses promote sustainable agricultural methods and conserve ground water across the five continents where the competition takes place.
Community focused, environmentally responsible
Al-Hindi and the board of NBC know that winning such prestigious awards is not only good for publicity in the region, but also makes good business sense. Being less wasteful can only but impact upon the bottom line in a positive way.
NBC has truly been a company that has set its sights high by promising to keep the highest standards of quality and ethics throughout its business lifecycle. It has begun to reap the rewards for such excellence through recognition on the international stage via these corporate awards. At home, it is a trusted, local business employing local people. It empowers not only its employees, but its positive attitude has also infected all those who are lucky enough to come into contact with its various community based projects, projects involving education, sport, health or the environment.
It has stayed ahead of the field by being an early adopter of international standards in manufacturing.
Mr Al-Hindi has the final word; “Our story is not only a success in terms of product quality – our success stems from keeping our feet on the ground and believing in our fellow Palestinian people who work with us. NBC is a bedrock of the Palestinian economy – we help to maintain the social structure through the projects we finance and support across Palestine and we are proud to do so”.