Tim Brett, the leader of Coca-Cola Western Europe, has been elected president of the Union of European Soft Drinks Associations (Unesda).
He will take over the presidency with immediate effect from Stanislas de Gramont, the outgoing president and former CEO of Suntory Beverage and Food Europe, whose two-year tenure was due to expire last May.
Brett has been in his current role as president of Coca-Cola’s Western Europe business unit since July 2017, after six years as president of Coca-Cola Japan. He has prior experience at both Diageo and Walkers Snack Foods, as well as additional roles within the Coca-Cola system in the Czech Republic and Romania.
De Gramont, who Brett replaces, became COO of consumer goods company SEB Group in December.
Announcing his appointment, Tim Brett said: “For more than 60 years, Unesda has united our industry around a common goal to broaden the contribution we can make to Europe while serving consumers with the drinks they love. Our sector has been proud to lead the way in setting out significant ambitions to create a healthier food environment and make packaging more sustainable. I look forward to engaging with national associations and member companies to advance progress and build cross-sector partnerships that will allow us to achieve these priorities together.”
He joins at a difficult time for Europe’s soft drinks producers with pressure on sugar contents accelerated by sugar taxes – notably in the UK and Ireland – as well as greater calls for the industry to cut down on post-consumer plastic waste.
The association recently pledged to make packaging more sustainable by increasing recyclability, collection and use of recycled plastics. It has also committed to reducing added sugars by a further 10% by 2020, with incoming president Brett acknowledging the strong progress being made and the importance of the year ahead.
It faces the prospect of upcoming elections for the European Parliament and the appointment of a new European Commission.
With a value chain of some €185 billion, the European soft drinks industry is a significant contributor to the European economy and provides growth, jobs and added value throughout the supply chain. It supports over 1.7 million jobs in its value chain and delivers almost €30 billion in tax contributions to EU member states.
There are 424 soft drinks production and bottling plants across the EU supplied with ingredients from over 137,000 arable farms and producing some 56 billion litres annually, Unesda said.
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