By JOHN WACHIRA
At a time when the globe’s fresh water supply is under threat and water crisis has been deemed one of the biggest risks to global security, the Coca-Cola Company has announced that it has met its 2020 water replenishment goal five years early.
The announcement was made by the Coca-Cola Company chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent at the ongoing World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. This makes Coca-Cola the first Fortune 500 Company to publicly claim achieving such an aggressive water replenishment target.
“This achievement marks a moment of pride for Coca-Cola and our partners. A goal that started as aspiration in 2007 is today a reality and a global milestone we plan to maintain as our business grows,” Mr. Kent said.
World Water Week is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues and is organized by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). This year, the theme is Water for Sustainable Growth.
The Coca-Cola Company, which uses an estimated 300 billion liters of water annually- a quantity equivalent to every person on earth donating 40 liters of the shared water resource to its operations- has managed to restore or replenish the equivalent quantity of all the water it uses in a year in its global operations to produce its beverages.
At the same time, the company announced progress against its water efficiency goal. The company and its bottling partners improved water use efficiency by 2.5 percent from 2014 to 2015, adding to a cumulative 27 percent improvement since 2004.
Based on a global water use assessment validated by LimnoTech and Deloitte, and conducted in association with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Coca-Cola system returned an estimated 191.9 billion liters of water to nature and communities in 2015 through community water projects, equaling the equivalent of 115 percent of the water used in Coca-Cola’s beverages last year.
“Now, every time a consumer drinks a Coca-Cola product, they can have confidence that our company and bottling partners are committed to responsible water use today and tomorrow. We are keenly aware that our water stewardship work is unfinished and remain focused on exploring next steps to advance our water programs and performance,” Mr Kent said.
These water replenishment goals were achieved through 248 community water partnership projects in 71 countries focused on safe water access, watershed protection and water for productive use.
In many cases, projects also provide access to sanitation and education, help improve local livelihoods, assist communities with adapting to climate change, improve water quality, enhance biodiversity, engage on policy and build awareness on water issues. The program aspects mentioned in the preceding sentence do not contribute to Coca-Cola’s replenish volume.
Coca-Cola’s replenishment strategy supports the company’s overall water goal to safely return to communities and nature an amount of water equal to what is used in its beverages and their production.
On the production side, the Coca-Cola system returned approximately 145.8 billion liters of water used in its manufacturing processes back to local watersheds near our bottling plants through treated wastewater in 2015.
“All life depends on water, but less than 1 percent of the world’s water is fresh and accessible. From mountain glaciers to estuaries, we must account for the whole system if we hope to secure freshwater for all,” said Carter Roberts, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) President and CEO.
“This means partnerships matter. This is an important milestone in Coca-Cola’s continued leadership on water stewardship and sets a standard for other water users to build from,” he added.
Coca-Cola collaborates on replenish projects with governments, civil society and other members of the private sector.
To learn more about Coca-Cola’s water stewardship program, visit the company’s water stewardship report.
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands and more than 3,800 beverage choices.
Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world’s most valuable and recognizable brands, the company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands, 18 of which are available in reduced-, low- or no-calorie options.
Coca-Cola’s billion-dollar brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Del Valle, Georgia and Gold Peak.
More than 1.9 billion servings of Coca-Cola beverages are enjoyed by consumers in more than 200 countries each day.
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