Coca Cola and WWF Conserving Water (?)


Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund (US Branch) have "launched a multi-year partnership to conserve and protect freshwater resources. The $20 million commitment from The Coca-Cola Company to WWF will be used to help conserve seven of the world's most important freshwater river basins, support more efficient water management in the company's operations and global supply chain, and reduce its carbon footprint. Through the partnership, The Coca-Cola Company has made a pledge to replace the water it uses in its beverages and their production." (::WWF)

We have complained often about what the Coca-Cola company has done to water, taking it from the taps, adding salt, bottling it in plastic and calling it Dasani, essentially privatizing a public resource and selling it back to us at a 10,000% markup.

The Coke President is making a speech today in Beijing at the WWF conference and spells out his plans to Reduce, Recycle and Replenish, a portion copied below the fold. Laudable goals by Coke but still lipstick on a pig. What was the WWF thinking? ::Coca-Cola

Today, The Coca-Cola Company pledges to replace every drop of water we use in our beverages and their production; to achieve balance in communities and in nature with the water we use.

This goal is, admittedly, aspirational. It will be a multi-year journey for our entire system, but it is a journey we have begun and will continue to pursue in partnership with WWF.

Our pledge to replace the water we use has three core components: Reduce, Recycle and Replenish. I'll take each in turn.

* Reduce: The Coca-Cola Company will set specific water efficiency targets for global operations by 2008 to be the most efficient user of water among peer companies.

We pledge to build on the improvements we have made in water efficiency and this is a key element of the partnership we are announcing today with WWF.

* Recycle: By 2010, we will return all the water that we use for manufacturing processes to the environment at a level that supports aquatic life and agriculture.

At Coca-Cola we have water treatment standards that are more stringent than many local standards and nearly 85% of our manufacturing facilities have implemented these standards, again reflecting the commitment of our bottlers to water stewardship. We are committed to 100% alignment among our manufacturing facilities with our Company's stringent water treatment standards by 2010.

* Replenish: So what do we mean by replenish? The water that leaves our plants as finished products fulfills the basic human need for hydration. If that need were not met by our products, it would be met by other means.

Some might say our pledge to return the drops we use need not include the water in our finished products, but we are going a step further in including a third R in our commitment.

Our commitment to replenish means that on a global basis we will give back by supporting healthy watersheds and sustainable community water programs to balance the water used in our finished beverages. We will do this by working on a wide range of locally relevant initiatives, such as watershed protection, community water access, rain water harvesting, reforestation and agricultural water use efficiency.

Our Company recognizes a special responsibility with regard to water stewardship at plants located in areas under water stress, such as drought.

We continue to work with -- and learn from -- our bottling partners in developing and implementing responsible water management and community engagement in water stressed areas.

Replenishment does not necessarily mean we will balance product water at each plant. It does mean we will focus, along with our partners such as WWF, UNDP and USAID, to identify the locations and projects where the need is greatest, and where we can have a positive impact on communities and ecosystems.

We recognize that becoming "water neutral" in our operations does not address the issue of embedded water in our agricultural ingredients and packaging materials. Working with WWF, we will seek opportunities to reduce water use in our supply chain, beginning with sugar where we will expand our existing collaboration on the Better Sugar Initiative.