The Coca-Cola system—in conjunction with its bottling partners (collectively the Coca-Cola System) announced today they have met their goal of replenishing all of the water they use in their products. Of course, this does not mean they have created water in a laboratory or what not, but that they have been able to resource the equivalent amount of water used in the global sale of their product volume, back into nature and other communities.
According to The Coca-Cola Company CEO and Chairman Muhtar Kent, “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.” He also notes, “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.”
Coca-Cola’s water use was audited by LimnoTech and Deloitte and conducted alongside efforts from The Nature Conservancy. Coca-Cola also returned almost all of the water it used through its manufacturing process with 146 billion liters of treated wastewater.
You may recall that the company originally announced the water replenishment goal after the War on Want campaign in 2007, to replenish its water by 2020. The company actually surpassed this goal by making good on its promise five years ahead of schedule, through the combined efforts of 248 community water partnership projects across 71 countries. Coca-Cola reports that some projects directly return water to the source where they had originally gained their supply; other projects meet the needs of local communities where there is a near emergency need for such resources.
In the words of the company: “Some replenish projects directly return water to the source we use while others are outside the watershed our plant uses but are important to help meet needs of local governments, communities and partners where there is a pressing need.”
India, for example, is a region with great need, and is a key market for the beverage company. But Coca-Cola was ordered to cease operations there because of local concerns over water use—as a whole.