The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) today pledged to lead its global beverage operations, including those of its franchise bottlers, to replace the water it uses in its beverages and their production. TCCC will focus its actions in three core areas:
- reducing the water used to produce its beverages,
- recycling water used for beverage manufacturing processes, and
- replenishing water in communities and nature.
The pledge was announced at the annual meeting of WWF in Beijing, where TCCC launched a multi-year partnership with WWF to conserve and protect freshwater resources. This $20 million (US) commitment from TCCC to WWF will be used to help conserve seven of the worlds most important freshwater river basins, support more efficient water management in its operations and global supply chain, and reduce TCCC carbon footprint.
In 2006, TCCC and its franchised bottlers used approximately 290 billion liters of water for beverage production. Of that amount, approximately 114 billion liters were contained in the TCCCs broad portfolio of beverages sold in markets around the world, and another 176 billion liters were used in beverage manufacturing processes such as rinsing, cleaning, heating and cooling.
TCCCs pledge to replace the water it uses has three core components: reduce, recycle and replenish.
- Reduce: TCCC set specific water efficiency targets for global operations by 2008. These targets will build on previous decreases in total water use by 5.6% while building sales volumes by 14.6%. In that same period, water efficiency improved 18.6%.
- Recycle: TCCC will align its entire global system in returning all water that it uses for manufacturing processes to the environment by the end of 2010.
- Replenish: TCCC plans to expand support of healthy watersheds and sustainable communities to balance the water used in its finished beverages. Engagement will include watershed protection, community water access, rain water harvesting, reforestation and agricultural water use efficiency.
In recognition of the impacts on water resources from the embedded water in agricultural commodities and packaging, WWF and TCCC will work together to encourage efficient water use in the Companys supply chain, beginning with sugar cane through WWFs Better Sugar Initiative.
The partnership will focus on measurably conserving seven of the worlds most critical freshwater river basins:
- Chinas Yangtze
- Southeast Asias Mekong
- the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo of Southwest United States and Mexico
- the rivers and streams of the Southeastern United States
- the water basins of the Mesoamerican Caribbean Reef
- the East Africa basin of Lake Malawi
- Europes Danube River
These river basins (also know as watersheds) span more than 20 countries in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia and were chosen because of their biological distinctiveness, opportunity for meaningful conservation gains, and potential to advance issues of resource protection.
Also recognizing the impacts of climate change on the water cycle, WWF and TCCC will work together on climate protection. Experts from both companies have already led a series of energy and climate protection workshops for many of TCCCs bottling partners. Targets will be set for climate-related emission reductions in the next year.
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