In 2007, The Coca-Cola system set an aspirational goal to safely return to communities and nature an amount of water equivalent to what is used in its beverages and their production by 2020. The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners are working to achieve this water balance through diverse, locally focused community water projects.
Coca-Cola Canada is well on its way to meeting this goal through a portfolio of projects in Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta. As of 2015, these projects are delivering almost 600 million liters per year in replenish benefits. The business unit works with partners such as WWF, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Some examples of Coke’s water projects in Canada are highlighted below:
TRCA Tommy Thompson Wetland Park, Toronto
Tommy Thompson Park (TTP) is located on the Leslie Street Spit, a 3.1-mile man-made peninsula that extends into Lake Ontario just east of downtown Toronto. Historically, the spit was used for industrial and shipping activities and disposal of rubble and fill from the construction industry and sediment dredging. Through a partnership with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), Coca-Cola is supporting a project that focuses on a 9.5-hectare disposal cell (Cell 2) that was filled to capacity by 1997. The existing ecological conditions within the cell are impaired due to the contaminated sediments and poor habitat quality.
The sediments that constituted the aquatic substrate within the cell exceed Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines for contaminated sediments. Through Coca-Cola’s support, the TRCA is capping the contaminated sediment ensuring that it is biologically unavailable, and creating a hemi-marsh ecosystem to improve fish and wildlife habitat. More information can be found here.
When complete, this project will provide more than 1 billion liters per year in replenish benefits in addition to restoring vital aquatic habitat and providing unique recreational opportunities for the Toronto’s urban community.
Rain Barrel Donation Program
Ducks Unlimited Wetland Protection, Saskatchewan
Ducks Unlimited and Coca-Cola have partnered on wetland conservation activities in the Prairie Pothole Region of Canada. The Prairie Pothole Region is an area of the northern Great Plains that contains thousands of shallow wetlands known as potholes or kettle ponds which are the freshwater source of vital waterfowl breeding ground habitat.
“This is a great example of a win-win partnership,” Ducks Unlimited Director of Development Shawn Battison said. “Coca-Cola obtained another 121 million liters towards their water neutrality goal, and Ducks Unlimited restored and permanently protected another 121 acres of vital wetland habitat in the most important breeding area for North America’s waterfowl.”
Although wetlands are regarded as one the most valuable ecosystems, they are also one of the most threatened in North America. By protecting existing wetlands and restoring degraded ones, we increase annual floodwater storage and contribute to the overall watershed ecosystem health. Each acre of wetland replenishes 1 million liters of water to nature that otherwise would have been lost to due to hydrological alteration had the land been converted by development.
Working with willing landowners, we conserved 75.2 acres of wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region through conservation easements. A conservation easement is a legal agreement that a land owner makes to restrict the type and amount of development that may take place on his or her property. This “avoided loss” scenario has ensured that valuable ecosystem services provided by wetlands such as floodwater storage, nutrient reduction and carbon storage to mitigate climate change impacts have been maintained.
The Coca-Cola Foundation grant to Ducks Unlimited was also used to restore 46 acres of wetlands on permanently secured land in the Prairie Pothole Region. The benefits resulting from the restoration of these previously degraded wetland basins will continue in perpetuity as part of Ducks Unlimited’ s Revolving Land Conservation Program. Under this program Ducks Unlimited purchases habitat, restores wetlands and adjacent upland areas, puts a perpetual conservation easement on the land and sells the property back into the community for use under sustainable agricultural practices that protect its hydrology for waterfowl habitat.
“It’s partnerships like this one with Ducks Unlimited that will help us meet our water neutrality goal by 2020, which is to put back into nature an amount of fresh water equal to what we use in our finished beverages,” said Bill Schultz, President of Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada.