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 sales volume).
Between 2005 and the end of 2013, we balanced an estimated 68 percent of the water used in our finished beverages based on 2013 sales volume, for a total of 108.5 billion liters 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 (SVA) conducted by our bottling plants.
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.
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 benefited more than 1.9 million people.
Our bottling partners’ SVAs and source water protection plans (SWPP) 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.
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. We use these methodologies in the context of our replenish program. A joint, peer reviewed paper explaining this context and application can be found here. 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
As part of our work to replenish water sources, we support
Every Drop Matters, the longstanding partnership between the
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:
- Solar-powered pumps in Uzbekistan. As part of an Every Drop Matters project in Uzbekistan – where for the last 4 years a new community-water supply model has been tested with local village groups, who decide what is best for their needs – advanced technology is being tested in the form of solar-powered energy-efficient pumps. “Each solar panel and pump set is able to supply around 5000 villagers, providing 470 cubic meters of safe drinking water per day” said Mr Ulugbek Islamov of UNDP-Uzbekistan. “And because the project works closely with government agencies, there is great support for extending the new water-supply model, including the solar pumps, to other communities. In fact, the next steps will be to apply the system to 25 more communities and 125,000 more people in the Navoi and Samarkand regions” he adds.
- The projects in the Baunibad slum in Bangladesh area are installing rainwater-collection systems on school roofs, which rely on gravity, not electric pumps, to take the water to the schools’ new drinking-water taps. The area’s sewer system only served a quarter of the residents, so the small wastewater treatment facilities were much-needed, fitted well in the densely populated neighbourhoods, and have made a big difference in reducing the pollution of local ponds. The treatment systems also have airtight ‘bio-digesters’ which produce biogas that local people can use as fuel. “The interesting thing here is that communities have set up bio-digester management committees, and they have already raised around USD 3000 to keep the new systems maintained” said Benli.
Our Valued Partnership With WWF
Since 2007, we have partnered with World Wildlife Fund to conserve and protect priority river basins and catchments around the world. Through our transformative partnership we work to improve water efficiency and reduce carbon emissions across our manufacturing operations . We have also worked throughout our supply chain to promote sustainable agriculture practices . The partnership has expanded from a headquarters-to-headquarters collaboration to nearly 50 countries, with
Through the expanded partnership,
1. Improve water efficiency by 25% through operational advancements.
2. Help maintain healthy, resilient freshwater systems.
3. Reduce CO2 emissions embedded in ‘the drink in your hand’ by 25%.
4. Responsibly source material for PlantBottle™ packaging.
5. Sustainably source key agricultural ingredients.
6. Replenish 100% of water used.
Bringing RAIN to Africa
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.
In 2012, as part of RAIN, we joined
Alignment With Our Business
Many of our community water projects, while strategically
aligned with our business system’s water stewardship strategy, are funded
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.