Inside every bottle of Coca-Cola is the story of a company that understands the priceless value of water, respects it as the most precious of shared global resources and works vigorously to conserve water worldwide. We can’t imagine treating water any other way.
Clean, accessible water is essential to the health of communities. It is critical to ecosystems and indispensable for economic prosperity. And it is essential for our business. Water is the main ingredient in our beverages, central to our manufacturing process and necessary for growing the agricultural products we use.
Unlike most other global companies, we have a special interest in protecting the local water sources that sustain communities because the communities that host our bottling plants are also our consumer base—we sell our products where we make them. If those communities stay strong, our business will stay strong. So in addition to the ecological and ethical imperatives that drive our water stewardship, we also have a vested business interest in preserving and improving local water sources.
Our global system is becoming more efficient in its water use by reducing the amount it uses per liter of product produced, even as production volumes increase. We are recycling wastewater, sometimes returning it to nature cleaner than required by law. And our system is replenishing, or balancing, the water used in our finished beverages—an estimated 35 percent so far, with an ultimate goal of being water neutral by 2020 through projects intended, among other things, to protect or conserve water resources or to bring safe drinking water or sanitation to people in the communities we serve.1
We believe the world contains enough water to meet everyone’s needs, but only if everyone works to better manage water resources. As a consumer of water and as a company with a presence that is both global and local, we have a particular obligation—and a unique opportunity—to be a steward of the world's water. Here is how we are working to do our part.
Mitigating Risk—for Communities and for Our System
Assess the vulnerabilities of the quality and quantity of water sources for each of our bottling plants and implement a locally relevant water resource sustainability program by the end of 2012.
By the end of 2011, 612 of the 863 bottling plants in our system had completed source vulnerability assessments. 582 had completed source water protection plans, and 251 plans were scheduled to begin source vulnerability assessments in 2012.
Communities and ecosystems need plenty of clean, accessible water to thrive. So does our business. Our bottling plants depend on local water sources. As demand for water increases and stress on water sources intensifies, the communities that host our facilities—and the local consumers who buy our products—may face serious health and economic challenges, and we may face challenges to our growth.
To mitigate water-related risks to our system and to the communities we serve, we have required every one of our bottling plants to conduct a local source vulnerability assessment. These assessments inventory risks to the water sources supplying our facilities and the surrounding communities. Once the assessments are complete, we and our bottling partners develop a locally relevant water resource sustainability program detailing specific risk-mitigation actions that we can take to help with preserving the sustainability of local water sources, along deadlines for completing those actions. These programs address water challenges at the watershed level, from hydrological vulnerabilities to local government management. Often, the plans include partnerships and mitigation initiatives with local governments and communities, water agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). All of our bottling partners are required to be implementing their source water protection plans by the end of 2012, a target we are on track to meet.
Meeting Our Goal for Water Efficiency
By 2012, improve water efficiency in manufacturing by 20 percent compared with a 2004 baseline.
By the end of 2011, we had reduced our water use ratio by 20 percent.
Greater efficiency in our water use does not mean making less product. To the contrary, we intend to reduce our water use ratio—the amount of water we use per liter of product produced—while growing our business. Our goal, set in 2008, was to improve water efficiency systemwide by 20 percent by 2012, compared with a 2004 baseline. Despite an expanding product portfolio and increased production levels, we have achieved that goal. In 2011, we used 293.3 billion liters of water to make 135 billion liters of product, giving us a water use ratio of 2.16 liters per liter of product.
We are not stopping there. We are developing a new goal for further improving our water efficiency between now and 2020.
Looking across our system, our data show that the highest water use ratios are often in developing markets, where water risks may be higher. One main reason: In developing markets, refillable glass bottles make up a large percentage of our unit case volume, and cleaning returned bottles demands more water. Even in those markets, our bottling plants typically draw a small percentage of water from local water sources, and each plant’s source water protection plan helps mitigate any threats to local water supplies.
By the end of 2010, return to the environment—at a level that supports aquatic life—the water we use in our system operations through comprehensive wastewater treatment.
We aspire to treat all wastewater from our manufacturing processes. As of the end of 2011, we had achieved 96 percent alignment with our wastewater standards.
In addition to improving our water use efficiency, we are also reducing our impact on water systems and contributing to improved water quality by appropriately treating wastewater and returning it to the environment. Our stringent treatment process ensures that the wastewater we discharge meets, and in many cases exceeds, standards set by locally applicable law. Thanks to the efforts of bottlers, our system has invested more than USD $1 billion since 2001 to align with our wastewater standards. In 2011, we released 159 billion liters of treated wastewater across our system.
Statistics show that 90 percent of wastewater in the developing world is discharged into the environment without treatment. In some countries, we have introduced the very first wastewater treatment facility. We hope improvements within our own operations will inspire others to make similar changes.
All facilities in our system are required to meet locally applicable legal requirements for wastewater discharge. But we wanted to set our standards higher even though in some cases we can legally discharge to the environment without or with little treatment. So, in 2006, we set the goal that, by the end of 2010, all water used in our system operations would be discharged at a level not only compliant with locally applicable law, but also one that supports aquatic life even when not required to do so. Our internal wastewater treatment standards (please see the chart below) call for all water we discharge to be treated to that level.
To date, 100 percent of our Company-owned plants are compliant with our wastewater treatment standards and either fully treat wastewater on site or use a municipal or government-approved wastewater treatment plant with secondary treatment. As we expected, though, aligning an entire system spanning more than 200 countries and territories has proved to be challenging. Constructing and upgrading treatment systems is a substantial investment for our bottlers. Delays in financing, government permitting and construction have slowed progress, as has civil unrest in countries such as Yemen and Syria. As a result, we have not yet met our goal of 100 percent alignment across our entire system. By the end of 2010, 93 percent of our system facilities had aligned with our water treatment standards. At the end of 2011, 96 percent had achieved alignment. Though much depends on variables beyond our control, we are working closely with our bottlers and are hopeful that all facilities will comply with our standards by the end of 2013.
Replenishing the Water We Use
By 2020, safely return to communities and nature an amount of water equal to what we use in our finished beverages and their production.
We estimate we have balanced 35 percent of the water used in our finished beverages (based on 2011 unit case volume.)
We are working to balance our water use by replenishing an amount of water equivalent to what we use in our finished products. Between 2005 and the end of 2011, we balanced an estimated 35 percent of the water used in our finished beverages based on 2011 production volume.2
We are achieving water balance through diverse, locally relevant community water projects—projects that support community and ecosystem needs for safe and sustainable sources of water while protecting our ability to do business responsibly, safely and more sustainably. Since 2005, we have engaged in 382 projects with such partners as the World Wildlife Fund, USAID, The Nature Conservancy, CARE and UNDP. The water projects we engage in 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 provide additional benefits, such as improving local livelihoods, helping communities adapt to climate change, improving water quality and enhancing biodiversity. Since 2005, our initiatives for improving water access and sanitation alone have benefitted more than 1.6 million people. While we are energized by our success to date, we recognize that we have much more work to do if we are to meet our goal of achieving water neutrality by 2020.
1.6 million people have benefitted from improved water access and sanitation
In our 2012 Water Stewardship and Replenish Report, we reported engagement in 386 community water projects since 2005. Since the publication of that report, four of those projects have been consolidated with other projects, bringing the total to 382.
Quantifying replenishment: An evolving methodology
The Nature Conservancy, with support from LimnoTech and the Global Environment & Technology Foundation, has helped us calculate our replenishment volume using an approach based on certain accepted tools and methodologies used to calculate water-related statistics. While we believe these methods are sound, we acknowledge that the science and methodology shaping quantification of water replenishment and other water-related benefits are new and developing. It may be premature to rely on our water benefit calculations as hard fact, and we are not claiming that we have everything correct at this point with respect to this emerging discipline. One of our objectives in reporting our efforts to calculate the benefits of our “replenish” work is to contribute to the ongoing exploration of this evolving science and related methodology. For more about how we quantify the water we replenish, read Quantifying Water Replenish Benefits in Community Partnership Projects.
Replenishing water sources around the world
Many of our community water projects are funded through The Coca-Cola Foundation and our foundations worldwide. Read about some of these projects in the Charitable Contributions section of this report. For a complete review of our 2011 community water projects, please see our 2012 Water Stewardship and Replenish Report.
In 2011, we continued work on many existing water projects and joined our partners in launching 54 new ones, including projects in these countries:
India. Our system in India has achieved full balance between the groundwater used in beverage production and the groundwater replenished to nature and communities—ahead of our global target date. Bottlers throughout India have improved water use efficiency by 25 percent since 2005.
Our efforts to replenish groundwater in India are focused on harvesting rainwater, constructing check dams, restoring ponds and other natural water bodies as well as supporting agricultural water efficiency improvements. NGOs and local communities help our bottlers identify priority areas, implement projects and mobilize community members to ensure local input in project planning and assessment.
At the end of 2011, our system in India had installed more than 600 rainwater-harvesting structures across 22 states to capture monsoonal rains for aquifer storage. Ponds are being restored in Sarnath and Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh and check dams have been constructed at several locations, including areas near Bangalore and Mumbai. In the Kaladera area of Rajasthan and elsewhere, we worked with partners to advance water-efficient agriculture through drip irrigation, helping 300 farmers install and use the systems. This long-term initiative is lowering farmers’ water and fertilizer costs, increasing their yields and conserving an estimated more than 1.5 billion liters of water every year across approximately 100 hectares of farmland.
We also launched three new community water projects in India in 2011. Partnering with SOS Children’s Villages and local governments, we’ve commenced a rainwater-harvesting project on 39 SOS campuses across India. The project is based on a pilot that resulted in over an estimated 10 million liters of harvested water and has the potential to collect another 440 million liters annually, providing clean, abundant water for more than 6,000 women and children.
In the state of Punjab, we are partnering with local farmers, NGOs and others to implement laser leveling as a cost-effective means of leveling irrigated land. Laser leveling allows irrigation to be applied more efficiently, reducing water use by 25 to 30 percent compared with traditional flood irrigation methods. To date, laser leveling is being used on more than 400 hectares in Punjab.
In the Great Indian Desert, we worked with local development partners to help recharge an aquifer. By constructing nearly 150 recharge shafts, the project team provided pathways enabling rainwater to better percolate into the ground and recharge groundwater for nearly 15,000 villagers.
Colombia and Nicaragua. Working with FEMSA Foundation and the national governments of both countries, we helped establish community water treatment systems in Argelia and Sopó, Colombia, as well as in San Francisco de Cuapa, Nicaragua. The systems provide safe water to 17,000 people. Access to safe water is expected to decrease prevalence of gastrointestinal disease, thereby increasing school attendance and the strength of the local workforce. It is also expected to encourage economic development. Local authorities have been involved throughout to encourage community ownership of the process and equipment.
China. Shuangcheng City, in northeast China, supports widespread agriculture and animal husbandry, but until recently, only about 20 percent of the manure produced by those industries could be properly disposed of. As a result, great heaps of manure accumulated alongside streets and fields, resulting not only in odor but also in water pollution. The city’s substandard sewer system discharged wastewater directly into the Lalin River.
In response, we partnered with provincial and national government agencies and others to build a new wastewater treatment plant and rebuild drainage pipelines in Shuangcheng. The project also included a pilot program in water-saving technologies and green agriculture demonstration activities to promote recycling of manure into organic fertilizer.
In 2011, we also worked with local stakeholders to improve water management in the Tarim River basin, the country’s largest inland basin and home to 10 million people, most of whom are ethnic minorities. The basin is one of the most arid and ecologically fragile regions in western China and central Asia. Water shortages in the basin aggravated by large-scale land reclamation, along with the resulting degenerated ecosystem, has made the Tarim basin one of China’s most impoverished areas. We are helping to mitigate the serious water shortage in the Tarim basin by improving water allocation, enhancing local capacity in ecological agriculture, and improving the management capacity of local farmers and other stakeholders as they manage this all-important resource.
A milestone in our water partnership with the World Wildlife Fund
We launched a transformational partnership with WWF in 2007 that included a joint commitment to conserve seven of the world’s most important freshwater basins: the Yangtze, Mekong, Danube, Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, Lake Niassa, the Mesoamerican Reef, and key rivers and streams in the Southeast United States. Together, we committed to addressing four key conservation challenges in each basin: better governance and management; resource protection; conservation in balance with development; and biodiversity protection.
In 2011, after five years of partnership, we met our conservation goals in all seven basins. Results of our work include enhanced water quality improvements, new freshwater reserves and restored habitats. We estimated that we have replenished millions of liters of water, advanced local policies for protecting watersheds and supported livelihoods in 10 countries. To further our impact, we extended our river basin conservation work in three basins through 2012—the Mekong, the Mesoamerican Reef, and Southeast U.S. rivers and streams.
Meanwhile, work continues on the other goals we established as part of our partnership with WWF—improving water efficiency and reducing carbon emissions throughout the Company’s manufacturing operations, promoting sustainable agriculture in our supply chain and inspiring a global movement to conserve water. Going forward, we will strengthen our joint efforts to address the impact of the agricultural supply chain on freshwater, particularly the impact of water-intensive crops like sugarcane. Read more about our sustainable agriculture initiatives. You can also read a complete report of our work with WWF in 2011.
Progress in our partnership with UNDP
In addition to our partnership with WWF, we have a long-standing partnership with the United Nations Development Programme to solve challenges related to water supply, sanitation, water resources management and climate change around the world. Our collaboration with UNDP includes Every Drop Matters, a flagship initiative undertaken by the Coca-Cola Eurasia and Africa Group and the UNDP Water and Ocean Governance Programme in East Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia.
Our system has more than 50 projects under way or completed with UNDP to date. We have made a contribution of USD $14 million to support Every Drop Matters and other UNDP programs by the end of 2012, with an ongoing expectation of a USD $3 million annual contribution for at least three more years.
Water for women and girls across Africa
In 2009, we launched the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), the USD $30 million flagship program of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. RAIN aims 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 an estimated 1.36 million people in 28 of Africa’s 58 nations. We estimate that it has helped replenish more than 1.3 billion liters of water and improve 1,600 communities.
The lack of water and sanitation facilities in African nations is particularly hard on the continent’s female population. Women and girls spend billions of hours fetching water each year—valuable time that could be spent working, learning or caring for their families. Because of the distance many women must travel to collect clean water, they sometimes resort to unsafe sources, inadvertently putting themselves and their families at risk of life-threatening diseases. Additionally, adolescent girls in many communities miss school when they are menstruating because of a lack of water and sanitation facilities.
$6 million to improve the lives of women and girls in Africa
For these reasons, we focused the USD $6 million we invested in RAIN in 2011 on water and sanitation partnerships aimed at improving the lives of an estimated quarter million women and girls across Africa. We helped fund projects in Algeria, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda. Among our successes:
Working with Water For People and other partners in Rwanda, we provided water to two schools and sanitation facilities for four schools in the Gahanga and Masaka districts of Kicukiro. In addition, 17 new tap stands in Gahanga will help reduce the amount of time women and girls spend traveling to collect water.
The RAIN Water for Schools project is working with the South Africa Department of Basic Education, The Mvula Trust and H20 for Life to provide water to 100 schools and more than 60,000 students by the end of 2012. In addition to clean drinking water and hygiene education, the project is providing segregated latrines to help increase school attendance among girls and to empower girls to share proper sanitation and hygiene practices in their communities.
Also as part of RAIN, we made encouraging progress in the Safe Water for Africa program we launched in May 2011 with Diageo, plc, WaterHealth International and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Safe Water for Africa is bringing WaterHealth International’s WaterHealth Centers to communities across West Africa, where fewer residents have access to water today than 20 years ago. The centers are small, modular structures containing equipment that treats locally available water to World Health Organization standards. Water is then made available to residents for a nominal usage fee. WaterHealth International provides operations, maintenance and water-quality services for 10 years or more to help ensure each center’s viability. Over time, the affordable usage fees that residents pay for the service cover the cost of the center’s operation and maintenance, enabling centers to become sustainable. By the end of 2011, three WaterHealth Centers funded through Safe Water for Africa were completed—one in Ghana and three in Liberia. Twenty more are expected to be complete by the end of 2012, and a total of 50 water centers ultimately are expected to be constructed across Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria through the program.
Looking Ahead: a More Nuanced Approach to Replenishment
We know that watersheds around the world are under varying degrees of stress. As we make progress toward our 2020 target date for water balance and implement plant-level water resource sustainability plans, our actions are being designed to reflect needs and local water stress levels.
Donating Data to Speed Water-risk Mapping
Although managing water risk is a business imperative for companies around the world, few tools are publicly available to measure and map water risk at the scale necessary to support sound business strategies. Aqueduct, a collaboration among the World Resources Institute, our Company and others, aims to serve as the leading repository of standardized water risk information and applications in support of multi-stakeholder efforts to address water risk in key basins. Aqueduct is creating the Water Risk Atlas, an open, transparent and publicly available database that provides geographical and sector-specific water risk context to companies, investors, governments and others.
In 2004, we began developing the world’s most extensive source of water data, investing more than USD $1.5 million compiling crucial water risk data from dozens of public sources. In 2011, we donated the data we compiled to Aqueduct, helping to accelerate the development of the Water Risk Atlas by several years. The Atlas will ultimately enable companies, investors, governments and others to create water risk maps with a high level of detail and resolution. The private sector will be able to better manage water resources in high-risk areas, while government leaders will be encouraged to manage water resources more equitably, efficiently and sustainably.
Water Footprinting: Beyond Quantification
Water Footprint Assessment—a global standard that assesses the total volume of water consumed and polluted to produce a product and the sustainability of that water use—is helping us extend our view of how we use water across our supply chain. As a partner of the Water Footprint Network, we are working with The Nature Conservancy, WWF and others to account for all the water embedded in or used with respect to the sourcing and production of our products and to understand the implications for our business. To date, we have focused studies on the “blue,”“green,” and “grey” water footprints of sugar beets, orange juice and Coca-Cola® to help us pinpoint potential sustainability impacts in specific watersheds.
In August 2011, Coca-Cola Europe published a report on its assessment of the water footprint of sugar use in Europe, 80 percent of which is derived from locally grown beets. The report underscored the importance of assessing the impacts of water used, not solely the quantity. This is a key distinction, because the sustainability of a water footprint entirely depends on local factors. Large water footprints can be sustainable in water-rich areas, while very small water footprints might compromise sustainability in areas where water is scarce. Gaining a clear understanding of impacts not only makes environmental sense but also provides us with clearer guidance for prioritizing areas of concern.
As part of this process, Coca-Cola Europe has proposed a methodology for water footprint sustainability assessments, and we are contributing what we have learned to the global dialogue. Read Coca-Cola Europe’s full report.
Promoting Reform through Water Resources Group
We are proud of the difference we are making through our community water partnerships. At the same time, we know that the most meaningful water stewardship begins with effective policy at the national level. It is ultimately the responsibility of governments to provide access to water and to sustainably manage water resources. That is why we are a founding member of the Water Resources Group (WRG).
Created in 2008 with other businesses and governmental organizations, WRG is a neutral public-private-expert-civil society platform, now housed within the IFC, that provides a partnership to help government water officials and their partners accelerate reforms that will ensure sustainable water resource management for the long-term development and economic growth of their countries. WRG is helping to change the “political economy” for water reform by leveraging a wide-ranging and unique network of experts; by convening and promoting ongoing dialogue among communities, civil society, water user groups, experts and government officials (including government ministers not traditionally considered responsible for water resources management); and by building bridges between water experts and non-experts, enabling a wider set of government, community and business leaders to become engaged in the water reform process.
WRG is helping countries perform an initial diagnostic of gaps in their water supplies and consider the economics of various solutions. Then WRG will offer multidisciplinary expertise to help governments develop and test solutions. The ultimate objective is to improve water resources management in specific geographical areas. We are supporting WRG with an investment of $2 million US for 2012 and 2013. We also engage directly with WRG and with the governments of countries where WRG is working.
As of the end of 2011, WRG had engaged with governments in Mexico, Jordan and India and had been invited to engage with governments in South Africa and Mongolia, and there are also ongoing discussions with Chinese authorities. Following are summaries of WRG’s recent activities, as reported in WRG’s most recent annual report:
Karnataka. Karnataka, India’s second most water-scarce state, has a vision to grow its agricultural gross state domestic product by 9 to 10 percent over the next decade. In November 2010, the Government of Karnataka and WRG entered into a collaboration on water resource management with the aim of catalyzing water reform. To date, the WRG field team has developed a set of six interventions to transform water use in the state and is helping the government design pilot projects based on the interventions.
India (National Planning Commission). The National Planning Commission and WRG have collaborated to produce the National Water Resources Framework Study, a detailed analysis of the institutional, legal, regulatory and capacity deficiencies in water-related sectors in India. The study covered large-scale irrigation reform, groundwater management, river basin planning, legal and regulatory reform, and urban and industrial water supply and conservation, among other topics. Based on the report, the WRG team has developed a roadmap that will be integrated in India’s 12th Five Year Plan.
Jordan. Jordan is one of the most water-poor countries in the world. A recently completed WRG project aimed to provide a fact-based analysis of how Jordan can take an economy-wide approach to water and ensure the most economically and socially productive use. The analysis has been presented to Jordan’s Minister of Water and Irrigation and to senior leadership from the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Agriculture and USAID Jordan. The analysis will be used to revise Jordan’s long-term water strategy. WRG is now working with Jordan to help create a National Water Council to plan and manage water resources.
Mexico. WRG has been working with the national water commission, CONAGUA, to develop a fact base and pathway to sustainable water for Mexico. WRG’s analysis was an important element in the design of Mexico’s 2030 Water Agenda, which featured 38 initiatives to improve the country’s water management. WRG is currently helping CONAGUA develop the financial mechanisms to promote a sustainable water economy in Mexico.
Mongolia. Mongolia is embarking on a program of rapid economic growth driven by mining, which will lead to a significant increase in demand for water. At the invitation of Mongolia’s president, WRG has conducted a diagnostic of water issues and co-hosted a workshop attended by more than 120 participants from the public, private and civil society sectors. WRG is also helping to form the Mongolia Water Alliance, which oversees water reform in that country.
South Africa. WRG and the South Africa Department of Water Affairs announced a declaration of partnership at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2011 in Cape Town. The partnership is helping to address three priorities: water use efficiency and leakage reduction; supply chain in agriculture; and partnerships for wastewater treatment and reuse.
China (province of Shanxi). Shanxi is a stark example of a Chinese province in which fast economic growth is straining water resources. WRG and the Government of Shanxi are discussing the scope of a potential collaboration. WRG may collaborate with other Chinese provincial governments while it seeks to support water reform as expressed through China’s most recent Five Year Plan.
Read the complete report on WRG’s recent activity.
Seeking the “Social License” for Water Use
In some parts of the world where water is acutely stressed, we have encountered opposition to our operations because of perceptions that we are using more than our fair share of water and depleting local water sources to the detriment of local farmers and residents.
We have worked hard to provide data that show we use water responsibly and to make the case that it would be contrary to our own business interests to damage water sources and harm residents in the process. In doing so, we have gained ground in the courts and among regulators. We have been successful in securing the “technical” and “regulatory” licenses for using the water we need. But where we have sometimes been challenged is in securing the “social license” for our operations among the communities that host us.
For us to do business—and to be part of the solutions addressing water stress—it is essential for us to secure the trust and goodwill of the people in the communities where we are located. And that can only come from candid, continual dialogue—an ongoing conversation in which we show residents how much water we are using and how we are using it. It comes from showing residents how we are managing water resources and what we are doing to improve them. And it comes from helping to address residents’ specific concerns about water.
The Human Right to Water
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution recognizing the human right to water and sanitation and declared that clean drinking water and sanitation are “essential to the realization of all human rights.” The UN called upon nations and international organizations to provide financial resources and facilitate capacity building and technology transfer to help all countries provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all residents.3
Our Water Stewardship Journey: What Lies Ahead
Many of the world’s most pressing water challenges will only be resolved through water policy reform. That is why we are collaborating as a member of the Water Resources Group and why we expect to be increasingly involved, along with our peers and other stakeholders, in the development of better water policy. We believe that by working together quickly and decisively to craft sound policy, the global community has an opportunity to manage the world’s water resources sustainably and for the benefit of all.
We will also continue to expand the scope of our stewardship “upstream,” widening our focus to include not only our bottling plants and the communities we serve, but also our agricultural supply chain, one of the largest in the world. Because embedded water associated with our products—the water used in the product supply chain and manufacturing—is much greater at the farm than in our own operations, we are helping our suppliers improve efficiency and reduce their water use. To date, we have contributed to 27 sustainable agriculture initiatives in 22 countries, helping farmers enhance their practices, supporting agricultural improvements to protect water, increasing crop yields for small farmers and reducing environmental impacts.
Finally, we will increasingly view water not in isolation but as being inextricably linked to energy, climate and food—as part of the so-called water-food-energy-climate nexus. Our community water partnerships include initiatives that increase the ability of watersheds to absorb threats associated with the uncertainty of climate change and higher demands for water, energy and food. Other initiatives support climate adaptation and the increased food needs of a growing population through water body alterations, agricultural innovations, aquifer recharge, rainwater harvesting and other projects. Also, by promoting local water sources and eliminating the energy-intensive practice of treating and transporting water, we can help reduce energy demands.
You can read more about our recent progress in water stewardship in our 2012 Water Stewardship and Replenish Report. Additional information about specific water stewardship at bottling plants across our system can be found in reports issued by our bottlers.
1See the section of this report entitled ‘Quantifying 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 treating all wastewater and returning it to the environment at a level of purity that supports aquatic life, plus replenishing the amount of water used in the production of our finished products.
2See the section of this report entitled ‘Quantifying Replenishment: An Evolving Methodology’ for important qualifying information and perspective on our work to estimate water replenishment and other water-related benefits.
3UN.org, The Human Right to Water and Sanitation.