BEVERLY HILLS: Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, believes that empowering female entrepreneurs across the globe could both enhance the lives of local communities and help build its brand.

Bea Perez, Coca-Cola's chief sustainability officer, discussed this theme at the Transformation 2014 conference, an event organised by the 4As (Association of American Advertising Agencies).

"We've set the goal of economically empowering five million women by 2020," she said. (For more, including details of Coca-Cola's other CSR efforts, read Warc's exclusive report: Coca-Cola's CSR agenda: Women, water and well-being.)

The main objectives underpinning the "5by20" programme involve addressing what the company describes as "the most common barriers women face when trying to succeed in the marketplace".

Perez said: "This initiative offers women access to business skills training courses, financial services and connections with peers or mentors – along with the confidence that comes with building a successful business."

To date, this effort has been activated in more than 40 countries, a list featuring nations like Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa and Thailand.

And the impact, according to Perez, extends well beyond the female participants themselves, as it benefits the wider circles in which they live and work.

"We know that when you empower a woman and she earns a dollar, she gives that dollar back to her community," she said.

More specifically, research has revealed there is a greater likelihood that women will reinvest their earnings to pay for food, education and healthcare for their children and families.

Globally, female consumers control $20 trillion in expenditure – and they make many household spending decisions in categories relevant to Coca-Cola. "Women are 70% of our purchasers," Perez told the 4A's audience.

By mid-2014, she continued, Coca-Cola is already over 10% of the way towards achieving its goal of supporting five million female entrepreneurs, and thus to "refresh the world, one story at a time."

Data sourced from Warc