Coca-Cola to replace water in drinks and production

by Allison Sebolt
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BEIJING — The Coca-Cola Co. is implementing initiatives to replace the water used in production and in beverages.

Specifically, the company is going to work to reduce the water used to produce its beverages, recycle water used for beverage manufacturing processes and replenish water in communities and nature.

"We are focusing on water because this is where The Coca-Cola Co. can have a real and positive impact," said E. Neville Isdell, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our goal is to replace every drop of water we use in our beverages and their production. For us that means reducing the amount of water used to produce our beverages, recycling water use for manufacturing processes so it can be returned safely to the environment, and replenishing water in communities and nature through locally relevant projects."

The efforts will include setting specific water efficiency targets for global operations by 2008, with the goal of being the most efficient user of water among like companies. Coca-Cola also will change its global system to return all water used for manufacturing processes to the environment at a high enough level to support aquatic life and agriculture by the end of 2010. Expanding support of healthy watersheds and sustainable communities to help balance water used in finished beverages will also be a priority.

The announcement of these initiatives was announced at the annual meeting of the WWF in Beijing, through which the company launched a partnership with WWF to conserve and protect freshwater resources. A $20 million commitment from The Coca-Cola Co. to the WWF will help conserve seven freshwater river basins, support more efficient water management in operations and the global supply chain and reduce carbon footprint.

In 2006, The Coca-Cola Co., along with its franchised bottlers, used about 290 billion liters of water for beverage production. 114 billion liters of this were contained in the company’s portfolio of beverages sold to markets worldwide, and 176 billion liters were used in the manufacturing process.

Coca-Cola isn’t the first company to announce efforts aimed at improving the environment. Last fall, Wal-Mart notified its suppliers that it expects them to developing solutions to reducing packaging waste and conserving natural resources. The company’s goal is to reduce packaging by 5%. Click here to read more on Wal-Mart’s efforts.

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