As a global leader in the beverage industry, water quality and availability are vital to our business. Water is the primary ingredient in the majority of our products, central to our manufacturing process, and necessary to grow the agricultural ingredients on which we rely. Safe, accessible water is also essential to the health of people, communities, ecosystems, and economies—important considerations for business growth.
While water stress and challenges remain critical areas of concern, we believe the world has enough fresh water to meet growing demands if correctly managed and respected. As we work to establish a more sustainable business on a global scale, we have focused our water stewardship efforts on the areas where we can have the greatest impact: improving water-use efficiency and reuse, managing wastewater and stormwater discharge, mitigating water risk, replenishing the water we use in our finished beverages, and helping manage water resources in our agricultural ingredient supply chain.
The foundation of our water stewardship work is our comprehensive risk mitigation strategy. In order to source water responsibly and manage risks for our business and communities, we need to have a clear understanding of where our water comes from, the availability of water supplies in communities, the current and expected future stresses on the water supply (both as to quantity and quality), and the roles we can play in helping address the shared challenges in watersheds where we operate. We do this by conducting global, plant-level water risk assessments and by requiring each of the more than 800
Continuing to Replenish the Water We Use
In 2016, we continued to replenish 100 percent of the water used in our finished beverages back to communities and nature, a goal we first met in 2015. Projects implemented by the end of 2016 are replenishing 221 billion liters per year through community and watershed projects globally, as estimated with the help of our many reputable partner organizations using peer reviewed scientific and technical methods.
The replenish projects we support focus on improving safe access to water and sanitation; protecting watersheds; or providing water for productive use. Replenish volume contributions from these projects are 6 percent for safe access to water and sanitation; 79 percent for protecting watersheds; and 15 percent for water for productive use. Initiatives for helping communities gain sustained access to safe drinking water are estimated to have benefited nearly 3 million people as of the end of 2016.
These community water projects, some you can learn about through our Water Map, are conducted with the expertise and support of many critical partners such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF), USAID, The Nature Conservancy, Water For People, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), Global Water Challenge, UN-HABITAT, and UNDP.
Improving Our Water-Use Efficiency
By 2020, we aim to reduce our water-use ratio while growing our unit case volume, with a target to improve water efficiency by 25 percent over 2010 levels. In 2016, our water efficiency improved for the 14th consecutive year, with a 1 percent improvement over 2015 and a 27 percent improvement since 2004.
In 2004, we were using 2.7 liters of water to make 1 liter of product. That means that 1 liter of water was in the product and another 1.7 liters was used in the manufacturing process, mostly for keeping equipment clean. At the end of 2016, we were using 1.96 liters of water to make 1 liter of product, with the goal to reduce it to 1.7 liters of water by 2020.
Innovating Beyond Products