Supporting healthy watersheds is a key priority for The Coca-Cola Company. With more than 100 production facilities in North America, water is essential in the manufacturing of our products and the communities in which we operate.

Water supplies across North America are becoming increasingly stressed. We are committed to doing our part to improve the sustainability of these watersheds. We are working to return to nature and communities an amount of water equivalent to what we use in all of our products and their production by 2020. To achieve this, we focus on improving water efficiency, recycling water used in our operations and replenishing resources through watershed restoration and protection in partnership with conservation organizations, universities and local governments.

Performance Highlights

Water Use Ratio (Efficiency)
Defined as liters of water used per liter of product produced in the North America system

Water use ratio (Efficiency)

  2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Water use ratio 1.76 1.73 1.79 1.84 1.91
Total water use (kl)* 31.74 31.99 34.85 36.18 39.03
Percent Coca-Cola system plants in compliance with internal wastewater treatment standards 100% 100% 100% 100% 98%
Percent of water replenished 10% 9% 3% 0% 0%

Replenish, Renew, Revitalize

Through our longstanding global relationship with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), we are working to revitalize some of the world’s most critical freshwater river basins. In North America, this work focuses on two river systems: the Rio Grande in the Southwest and the Southeast Rivers and Streams region. We are collaborating with Coca-Cola bottling partners to actively support projects with local watershed conservation groups to promote freshwater conservation through rain-barrel donation programs and other storm-water management best practices, such as rain gardens.

We also partner with The Nature Conservancy in helping to restore rivers and conserve watersheds in California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Texas. Through this partnership, we are preserving healthy watersheds with conservation easements and working with local ranchers to restore grasslands through sustainable prairie management practices. In Texas, Coca-Cola associate volunteers removed non-native plants and planted native grasses to restore ranch grasslands in the Brazos and Trinity rivers region. This tallgrass prairie restoration supports the recharge of surface and groundwater resources and increases water quality and quantity to municipal water supplies for Dallas, Fort Worth and Waco.

Strengthening our Sources

With water-stressed regions across North America, we have pledged to undergo source vulnerability assessments and create source water protection plans for all of our facilities. These plans help us understand potential water quality or scarcity threats. We then identify and promote sustainable water resource management. This helps reduce risks and provides valuable information to share with local communities. We are on track to complete plans for every facility in North America by 2013.

The process provides an opportunity to engage local governments and other organizations in the planning and to share valuable results. This was particularly apparent in a recent assessment in Canada, which gathered municipalities and organizations to assess the long-term sustainability of the watersheds in which we operate. As a result, we are now working with WWF to review several Canadian watersheds and develop long-term watershed protection plans.

Making Every Drop Count

From replacing water rinsers with air rinsers to installing systems to reuse wastewater within our plant operations, we are constantly looking for ways to conserve water in our facilities. One facility that has excelled is in Auburndale, Florida. Since 2006, the facility has cut its water-use ratio in half through initiatives such as optimizing the backwashes of carbon filters, changing to dry lube and optimizing clean-in-place technologies and processes. While the installation of more water-efficient equipment has helped, it is the team’s dedication to actively identifying and implementing water-saving practices that enables continuous improvement.

Good Stewards of the Earth

We are helping Michigan farmers implement best practices such as wetland restoration, conservation tillage for sustainable corn production and removal of invasive species from prairie fen ecosystems. This project, in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy and Van Buren Conservation District, aims to increase infiltration of water into the watershed and improve the water quality of the Paw Paw River.

In Georgia’s Flint River Basin, we are working with The Nature Conservancy to encourage the adoption of remote soil moisture monitoring and precision irrigation management to sustain crop production while saving water for the river. By remotely monitoring soil moisture levels, irrigation is only used when needed. This reduction is saving farmers approximately 154 million liters of water per year over 1,000 acres in the watershed.