Member Focus - Patrick Jordan

Patrick Jordan 
Vice President Human Resources
Coca-Cola Japan & Korea at The Coca-Cola Company


Could you give us an overview of your company?

The Coca-Cola system in Japan is comprised of Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd., (who I work for), which supplies concentrates, plans and develops new products as the Japanese subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company, the world’s largest soft drinks manufacturer, along with six local bottling partners that manufacture and sell products nationwide, and four system affiliated companies. The Coca-Cola system refreshes Japanese consumers through more than 50 sparkling and still beverage brands. Led by “Coca-Cola”, one of the world’s most valuable and recognizable brands, our portfolio features a range of global brands such as “Coca-Cola Zero”, “Fanta”, and “Sprite”, in addition to brands originally developed for the Japanese market including “Georgia”, “Aquarius”, “I LOHAS”, and “Ayataka”. We are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, sports drinks, and canned coffee in Japan. We employ around 20,000 people here in Japan.

What is your connection to Ireland?

I am a very proud Irishman, born and raised. My family still live in Ireland and I visit as often as I can. In fact, I am writing this profile from Dublin.   I am also very fortunate to consider myself an Australian having lived there since I was 23.  I always tell people I have dual personality i.e. two passports!  I became an Australian citizen on St. Patrick’s Day 2009 as part of the St Patrick’s day festival in Sydney.  I remember being worried that people would boo at me as I received my citizenship on stage.  However, the experience was the exact opposite.  I had this unexpected feeling of immense pride, being sworn in as an Australian while being surrounded by the Sydney Irish community, waving lots of Irish and Australian flags.  Also, the free Guinness on tap at the ceremony also helped ?

How did your company first become involved in the IJCC?

Coca-Cola Japan joined IJCC through my connection.  As I have settled in Tokyo, I have had to develop my own network.  One of the first things I sought to understand was how to connect with Irish people in Tokyo.  I learnt about IJCC and connected through your website.  Apart from IJCC, I am also a member of the American Japan Chamber of Commerce and network with peers and colleagues in the Australian business community.

How has COVID-19 pandemic changed your business in a year?

From a commercial perspective, The Coca-Cola Company took the opportunity to align an approach to emerge stronger from the pandemic to Win more customers by growing our consumer base, Gain market share, Ensure strong system economics, Strengthen our stakeholder impact and corporate reputation and Equip our organization to win in the future.  This strategic initiative resulted in a large scale global organizational design, which I led for our Japanese business.  While managing this, the other key thing changing was our relationship with the office and how and where we work.  This has been a big change for everyone, especially here in Japan where presence in the office is an important part of the work culture.  However, this forced behaviour change is one of the best things I have seen in my professional career.   I am accountable to how we can develop our new way of working, be it in the office or from home.  What I am excited about is how we can use our work behaviours to drive growth whether it be collaborating in the office to focusing on your work at home!  This is a big part of my strategic plan which I am currently working on!

Another great thing we have seen from the pandemic is our innovative ways in which we have supported our communities during the pandemic including:

  • Donation of Soft Drinks to designated medical facilities via the Japan Medical Association
  • Donation of Simplified Face Shields made from Recycled PET to Medical Facilities
  • We donated US$500k to The Big Issue Japan Foundation for the provision of assistance to people in Japan who have lost their jobs or homes due to Covid 19
  • We considered our advertising to visually impaired people to convey the importance of social distancing

Your company actively work on sustainability projects. Could you tell us about more about those?

The Coca-Cola system in Japan has set ambitious sustainable targets for 2030 and we are happy that we are making good progress already in our strategic goal, including:

  • We have introduced 100% r-PET for flagship brands such as Coke, Georgia, and I-lohas.  We aim to have 100% sustainable materials for all PET bottles by 2030.
  • We have expanded our use of label-less products that contribute to reduce plastic wastes and to accelerate PET bottle recycle.
  • We have introduced Package-less products such as “1, 2, Cube”

What areas of growth do you see for your company (or sector) in the next 12 to 24 months?

If you are reading this think about how your consumption has changed, where you consume and how you purchase.  This is a key area for growth of us here at Coca-Cola Japan.   Within this is a strategic focus on

  • Small-sized packages such as Coke 350ml/700ml instead of 500ml/1.5L PET bottle. to offer consumers with a choice of sugar consumption
  • A double down on the growth of our eCommerce business
  • Focus on growing our Alcohol category.  Japan was the first market for Coca-Cola to introduce alcohol into its portfolio.  We will continue our focus on our Lemon-dou and Nomels.