Pepsi Partners With Nature Conservancy to Assess Their Footprint in Water-Stressed Areas

Pepsi water photo

Image: combust via flickr

Pepsi does not have the greatest track record when it comes to social responsibility, particularly with regard to its use of water in countries already stressed for water resources. So while it's too soon to tell if this is a too-little-too-late project, it's good news that the company is at least recognizing it has work to do when it comes to water: GreenBiz reports that PepsiCo has announced a partnership with The Nature Conservancy to study the watersheds surrounding five of its manufacturing facilities, with the hope that the lessons learned can be applied to the company's 700 facilities in more than 200 countries worldwide.GreenBiz quotes Liese Dallbauman, PepsiCo's Director of Water Stewardship: "We needed a toolkit to help all our individual plants in all their various settings determine the most feasible approach to protecting and restoring their water supply."

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The Nature Conservancy pilot project is the first concerted corporate-level water effort that goes beyond the company's four walls.

In addition to becoming one of the first companies to declare water as a human right, PepsiCo has set several water-related goals, including a 20 percent water use efficiency improvement per production unit by 2015, and achieving what it calls a "positive water impact" in its operations. A little backstory: The company's India unit had already met its goal in 2009 to deliver a "positive water balance" -- returning more water to the community than it consumed in its operations -- following charges it was depleting water sources in the water-scarce country. PepsiCo has now gone further by striving for positive water impact.

"We needed to look not only at the amount of water, but also the quality of water," Dallbauman said. "People don't just need enough water, they need clean water. Positive water impact is intended to include both the amount of water and quality of water."

The company surely has a long way to go before it earns any credibility for statements like that, especially in countries that have complained specifically about Pepsi using too much water and poisoning the water supplies that do exist. But, at least potentially, it's a start.

Read more about Pepsi's partnership with The Nature Conservancy at GreenBiz.

More on Pepsi and water scarcity around the world:
Beijing Slams Pepsi and Coke As "Dirty" For Using Too Much Water
Violence Over Water Already Happening in India
So Water is a Human Right Now. What Does That Mean for Water-Scarce Regions Around the World?

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