Coca-Cola announced today it is on track to meet its 2020 water replenishment goal five years ahead of schedule. The company expects it will safely replenish 100 percent of the water it uses in beverages and production through community water projects by the end of 2015, fulfilling its aspirational commitment set in 2007. If it succeeds, it will be the first food and beverage company to replenish all the water it uses.
Coke’s global water projects currently return 94 percent of the water used in finished beverages based on 2014 sales volume. Since 2004, Coca-Cola has replenished an estimated 153.6 billion liters of water back to communities and nature through 209 community water projects in 61 countries.
“There is no resource more precious to human life and the health of our global ecosystems and economies than water. As a consumer of water, the Coca-Cola system has a special responsibility to protect this shared resource, said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola. “This is why we set an aspirational goal of being water neutral by 2020.”
The company will not stop working for water sustainability once its reaches its goal, says Kent. “While we have made significant progress toward making that goal a reality, we are more intent than ever to give back the equivalent of all the water that we use to communities and nature. And we will continue to do so after we meet the 100 percent goal.”
The Nature Conservancy (TNC), one of many NGOs partnering with Coke on its water stewardship strategy, was instrumental in designing the methodology to quantify the company’s water replenishment efforts. The methodology was the subject of a scientific technical peer review to verify the use of generally accepted methods and accuracy.
“More and more companies now recognize that factoring nature into their decision-making is a smart business strategy,” said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of TNC. “Coca-Cola’s commitment to water underscores that investing in nature can produce very positive returns for businesses and local communities. TNC is proud of its collaboration with Coca-Cola and congratulates the company and its bottling partners on a very significant achievement.”
Speaking of water management, last week more than 60 leading North American and European institutional investors, collectively managing $2.6 trillion in assets, sent joint letters to 15 food and beverage companies calling for increased water risk management and disclosure practices. But help in that area arrived today, as Ecolab and Trucost announced the addition of a revenue-at-risk assessment to their Water Risk Monetizer tool, designed to help water-dependent businesses better understand the full value of water to their operations and identify revenue at risk based on current and projected water scarcity.