Water is the number one ingredient in all of Coca-Cola’s products, so protecting it is also Coca-Cola’s number one priority. Across the Coca-Cola bottling system, work is underway to prioritize conserving, restoring and replenishing our local water supplies.
A local leader in this effort is Swire Coca-Cola, USA which operates production and distribution centers in 13 western states and is the fourth largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States.
“Water is essential to the communities in which we operate,” says Mike Bernier, the company’s Director of Sustainability. “Our families and customers live here, so we have an obligation to be good water stewards as we go about operating our business.”
At Swire Coca-Cola, they are addressing water conservation in two innovative ways: improving internal business practices to save water and investing in the local communities to improve and enhance existing watersheds.
At Swire’s five production facilities they have instituted a rigorous process to track their “water use ratio” which is the liters of water consumed versus the liters of products produced. Through increased efficiencies to conserve water, they have reduced water consumption by 25% since 2006, resulting in 1 billion liters of water saved. And Mike and the team are continuing to look for ways to save even more.
“We set annual water budgets review them on a periodic basis,” says Mike. “Much like how we manage our company’s financial targets, we regularly review and set targets with the goal of getting the water use ratio as close to 1 as possible.”
Additionally, Swire Coca-Cola, in collaboration with the Coca-Cola Company and non-profit partners, is working to implement conservation projects across the communities they serve that restore the water supplies of natural water bodies. For example:
- Swire Coca-Cola worked with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to rewater a one-mile irrigation channel on Jesse Creek. The work on Jesse Creek, part of the Snake River system in Idaho, resulted in reconnecting the creek to larger system preserving an additional 267 million liters per year.
- Swire Coca-Cola partnered with the Colorado Water Trust and Bonneville Environmental Foundation to create a water rights conservation plan that preserved 316 million liters of water per year along Skunk Creek, a tributary of the Fraser River.
These are just two of the many projects that Swire has funded across the states where they operate.
“I am excited to work for a company that is so committed to protecting the environment,” says Mike. “It is exciting for me to to see the before and after pictures from the restoration sites we support and to to see the impact see the impact we are having on the communities we serve. Water is our most precious resource, and I am so proud of what we are doing to help preserve that for generations to come.”