• Share

Collaborating to Replenish the Water We Use

Water Stewardship Report_Filling up Water


By 2020, safely return to communities and nature an amount of water equal to what we use in our finished beverages and their production.


On track. We estimate we have balanced 68 percent 1 (108.5 billion liters) of the water used in our finished beverages (based on 2013 production volume).

Between 2005 and the end of 2013, we balanced an estimated 68 percent 1 of the water used in our finished beverages based on 2013 production volume, for a total of 108.5 billion litres of water replenished to communities and nature.

We are working toward water balance through diverse, locally-focused community water projects that often grow out of the source water vulnerability assessments conducted by our bottling plants (see above).

The projects we engage in typically have at least one of four objectives:

  • to improve access to water and sanitation;
  • to protect watersheds;
  • to provide water for productive use; and/or
  • to educate and raise awareness about water issues, including engagement on water policy.
Quantity of Water Replenishe from CWP Projects

In many cases, projects also help improve local livelihoods, help communities adapt to climate change, improve water quality and enhance biodiversity.

Since 2005, we have engaged in 509 projects with partners such as WWF, USAID, The Nature Conservancy, Water for People, UN-HABITAT, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). To date, our initiatives for improving water access and sanitation alone are estimated to have benefitted more than 1.9 million people.

Our bottling partners’ SVAs and SWPPs provide opportunities to link our replenish actions to watersheds and communities where we operate.  For example, the SVA for one bottling plant identified rising nutrient concentrations in the local watershed, which provided both source water for our manufacturing plant and an important eco-tourism attraction and recreational amenity for the local community. Through the SVA and SWPP processes, we were able to raise concern over water quality, rally the local government and community, and encourage area farmers to implement farming practices that reduced the nutrient load on the watershed. We are increasingly pursuing synergies between our source-water protection and replenish programs so that we can identify and implement locally relevant projects that support the sustainability of local watersheds and communities while reducing risks to our business.

1 See the section of this report entitled ‘How We Quantify Replenishment: An Evolving Methodology’ for important qualifying information and perspective on our work to estimate water replenishment and other water-related benefits. We define “water neutral” as the point where we are returning the water we use back to communities by treating all wastewater and returning it to the environment at a level of purity that supports aquatic life and replenishing an amount of water equivalent to our product volume through locally-relevant water and sanitation projects.

How we quantify replenishment: An evolving methodology

The Nature Conservancy, with support from LimnoTech and the Global Environment & Technology Foundation, helps us calculate the volume of water we have replenished using an approach based on widely accepted tools and methodologies. While we believe these methods are sound, we acknowledge that the science and methodology shaping quantification of water replenishment are new and developing. It may be premature to rely on our water benefit calculations as hard fact. For more about how we quantify replenishment, read our report, Quantifying Water Replenish Benefits in Community Partnership Projects, posted here.

More than 100 projects with UNDP

UNDP logo

As part of our work to replenish water sources, we support Every Drop Matters, the longstanding partnership between the Coca-Cola Eurasia and Africa group and UNDP. Every Drop Matters aims to help nations in Eurasia and Africa achieve Millennium Development Goals by meeting challenges related to water supply, sanitation, water resources management and climate change.

Through Every Drop Matters, our system has joined UNDP in undertaking more than 100 projects in more than 20 countries including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Projects include watershed restoration, sustainable agriculture initiatives, capacity-building among government water managers, and more. Our commitment is to invest US $14 million to support Every Drop Matters and other UNDP programs by the end of 2013, with an ongoing expectation of a US $3 million annual contribution for at least two more years. To date, Every Drop Matters has directly benefitted more than 900,000 people in in Eastern Europe by improving access to safe drinking water or improved water governance.

Our recent work through Every Drop Matters includes these projects:

  • Developing water governance in Romania. Romania has ample water sources but lacks effective water governance. We implemented a pilot study enabling Romanian authorities to secure a grant of €2.5 million to develop a rural water governance strategy.
  • Building infrastructure in Kazakhstan. In the town of Kok-Ozek, as in many communities in the former Soviet Union, the water system brought water as far as a central depot, but did not include infrastructure for delivering water to households. In partnership with UNDP and local authorities, we built a piping network designed to deliver water to every household and to schools and community health centers in the town center. More significantly, we helped the community establish a cooperative that will oversee water distribution, maintenance and sanitation, helping to ensure the sustainability of the new system. Our model was identified as a best practice by the UNDP board of directors and by the Kazakh government, and may be replicated throughout the country.

Learn more about our Every Drop Matters work with UNDP.

Our valued partnership with WWF

Since 2007, we have partnered with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to conserve the world’s freshwater resources. Throughout our partnership, we have worked within manufacturing plants to improve water efficiency and reduce climate impacts. We also have worked throughout our supply chain to promote more sustainable agriculture practices. And we worked in crucial watersheds around the world to conserve seven priority river basins. 

Read a complete report of our work with WWF.

Bringing RAIN to Africa


In 2009, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation launched the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), a US $30 million program that is on track 2 to provide at least 2 million people across Africa with safe water by 2015 and to fund water projects in every African country. RAIN-funded projects improve sanitation and hygiene, increase productive use of water and protect watersheds. To date, RAIN has provided access to safe water for approximately 1 million people in 35 of Africa’s 58 nations. It has helped replenish nearly 2 billion liters of water and improve more than 1,600 communities.

Because the lack of water and sanitation facilities in African nations is particularly hard on the continent’s girls and women, we have focused much of the investment in RAIN to date on water and sanitation partnerships aimed at improving the lives of an estimated 500,000 girls and women across Africa.

One recent success: A water purification system that delivers clean, fresh water to the people of rural Elliotdale, a poor community in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. The new system spares Elliotdale’s girls and women the chore of spending hours fetching water at rivers far away. It allows girls to spend more time in school. And it provides safer, better-tasting water to the whole community. Watch a video about the project here .

In 2012, as part of RAIN, we joined the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation in committing US $3.5 million to the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) to help advance sustainable water access in five African countries where less than half of the population has access to clean water: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique and Somaliland. Funds will support a variety of sustainable water access activities ranging from expanding water access in urban settlements to providing water access in hospitals and promoting multiple uses of water that empower women. Some of the funding will also be dedicated to operational support enabling USWP to bring additional resources to African countries characterized as high-need for clean water and sanitation.

Kids drinking water

Alignment with our business

Many of our community water projects, while strategically aligned with our business system’s water stewardship strategy, are funded through our Coca-Cola Foundation and our foundations worldwide. Read about some of them in the Charitable Contributions section of our 2012-2013 Sustainability Report. Additionally, information about specific water stewardship work at bottling plants and communities across our system can be found in reports issued by our bottling partners.

The challenge of sustaining water balance

While we are energized by our success to date, we recognize that we have much more to do if we are to meet our goal of replenishing the water we use by 2020. And meeting that goal is only a first step. We also intend to continue to balance the water we use over time—a complex and never-ending challenge. Sustaining water balance will require us to continue to treat all process wastewater, even as our business grows and as government regulation of treatment becomes stricter in some parts of the world. In order to sustain this commitment, we will need to replenish more water to balance our water use as our business grows. And it will require us to sustain the outcomes of our community water projects through monitoring and evaluation, to ensure that those projects continue to deliver the intended benefits to people and nature.