“The amount of water on the earth is finite. It's the same water that's always been here, and always will be here,” said Greg Koch. “You cannot create it or destroy it. You can really just hold it in trust.”
This is a responsibility Greg understands deeply. As Director of Global Water Stewardship for Coca-Cola, Greg ensures the that the bottling plants used by Coke all around the world have access to clean, sustainable water.
It’s a challenge which is becoming increasingly complex, as drinking water sources around the world become increasingly scarce, due to changing climactic conditions and population growth.
“We are seeing water stresses all around the world, thanks to extreme weather events like droughts and floods,” says Greg. “Our business is global like no other. We’re sort of a canary in the coal-mine, and we see the various forms of water stress increasing, in both the developed and developing world.”
Greg believes the broadly-held perception that fresh water is a plentiful resource is being challenged, as more people around the world face significant water shortages.
“There is a growing re-awareness of water,” said Greg. “We’re spiritually, religiously and emotionally connected to water - even economically. The value of water is being recognised, and with this recognition we’re beginning to ask how we can best use such a precious resource.”
Coca-Cola is deeply engaged with local communities around the world in projects aimed at protecting this precious resource. This is a commitment which, according to Greg, combines the company’s corporate social responsibility to the community, with its supply requirements.
“We have a vested business interest in the health of water resources and the governance around those in the communities that we operate,” said Greg. “We’re not going to be able to grow as a business if the community around us isn’t sustainable and growing, and it can’t do that without water.”
Greg is visiting Australia to speak with policy-makers about water issues, the availability of groundwater resources, and the various supply challenges communities are experiencing around the world. He’s also hoping to propose solutions to some of the problems countries are facing when it comes to securing a water supply.
“The substance of water is inalienable. It’s essential to all life,” he said. “What we’re ultimately looking for is good governance around water and sustainable sources of water for all communities.”
Click here for more information on the company’s water stewardship programs, and its sustainability practices as a whole.