The personal stories and achievements of seven “environmental champion” torchbearers selected by Coca-Cola for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay are the subject of a new documentary film premiering August 13 in Beijing.
The movie makes its debut at 8:30 p.m. inside the Coca-Cola Shuang Experience Center, within the Olympic Green complex of sports and media venues.
The worldwide presentation by Coca-Cola of this year’s record-breaking Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay focused primarily on environmental sustainability and the roles people can play in improving the quality of life in their communities. To help underscore the message of environmental stewardship – and recognize those who are dedicated to pursuing positive change – Coca-Cola selected local environmental champions to join the ranks of all the torchbearers the Company chose around the world to carry the Olympic Flame.
Individual vignettes profiling seven of the Coca-Cola environmental champions were shot and edited by student filmmakers from the torchbearers’ respective parts of the world.
The “Environmental Champions” documentary film project is among several environmental programs by Coca-Cola for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. In one key area, 100 percent of the coolers and vending machines provided by Coca-Cola for Olympic Games venues – more than 5,600 climate-friendly, “eKOfresh” units – feature a natural refrigerant that is free of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), as well as proprietary technology that improves energy efficiency by up to 35 percent. This commitment alone will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 4,000 metric tons – the equivalent of taking more than 19,000 cars off the road for two weeks.
Other environmental initiatives by Coca-Cola for the Olympic Games include the presentation to all 2008 Olympians of exclusive Coca-Cola T-shirts made from a blend of cotton and recycled PET plastic bottles, to demonstrate the high value of PET bottles and how they can be turned into desirable products. (All 2008 Paralympians are being provided unique Coca-Cola visors also produced using recycled PET.) In addition, all PET bottles collected from the Olympic venues will be recycled. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola is supporting Beijing’s efforts to improve the city’s air quality by operating a “clean fleet” of electric- or human-powered delivery vehicles for Olympic venues.
Featured Environmental Champions
From among all the environmental champion torchbearers selected by Coca-Cola for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay, the following achievers are featured in the new film documentary:
- Filiz Demirayak (from Turkey), the director general of WWF-Turkey and a renowned professional in coastal management.
- Nikolay Drozdov (from Russia), a biological scientist and the host of Russia’s popular television program, “In the World of Animals.”
- Liu Hong-Liang (from China), a noted environmental scientist specializing in lake research.
- Yasmin Rashid (from Pakistan), a founding member and chairperson of one of Pakistan’s most-notable non-governmental organizations, the Pani Pakistan Foundation.
- Douglas Stoup (from the United States), a global explorer and environmentalist who was the first American male to ski to the South Pole.
- Anna Tibaijuka (from Tanzania), the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Programme on Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT).
- Alby Wooler (from Australia), known locally as “Mr. Landcare” for his exceptional volunteer environmental work.
“The Olympic Games provide a great platform to demonstrate the Coca-Cola system’s commitment to sustainability and help raise global awareness about the importance of environmental stewardship,” said Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola. ”These seven ambassadors of sustainability are distinguished representatives of all the environmental champions selected by Coca-Cola to be part of the Olympic Torch Relay. Their environmental accomplishments weave together to tell a powerful, inspiring story of how individuals can make a difference.”
The Coca-Cola Company tapped into its worldwide system to identify local student filmmakers who could creatively capture the personal stories and environmental work of the seven torchbearers. Their vignettes were edited into the final documentary by film students from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, in the U.S.
“This was anything but a normal school assignment, but everyone on this project, in all the countries, has been thrilled by the opportunity to produce a moving tribute to these environmental champions with Coca-Cola,” said project faculty advisor Dr. Niklas Vollmer, associate professor, Film/Video, Department of Communication, Georgia State University.
Scheduled to attend the world premiere of the film August 13 in Beijing are featured environmental champion torchbearers Nikolay Drozdov, Liu Hong-Liang and Doug Stoup, along with Vollmer and the three-person GSU film student team that handled production of the finished piece.
The 2008 voyage of the Olympic Flame marked the sixth time that Coca-Cola has served as a Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay and the eighth time since 1992 that the Company has been formally involved with the event.