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Our Partners: The Nature Conservancy

In 2007, Coca-Cola announced a sustainability effort to “return to nature and communities an amount of water equivalent to what is used in finished beverages” by the year 2020, a goal we refer to as “replenish.” The Nature Conservancy (TNC) led primary research and provides ongoing council to help quantify the “replenishment benefits” that the Company could claim as a result of our investment in hundreds of local community watershed projects around the world.

Replenish projects in which we engage typically have one of four objectives: 1) to improve access to water and sanitation; 2) to protect watersheds; 3) to provide water for productive use; and/or 4) to educate and raise awareness about water issues, including engagement on water policy.

Between 2005 and the end of 2013, through engagement in 509 projects in more than 100 countries with many critical partners, Coca-Cola balanced an estimated 68 percent of the water used in our finished beverages based on 2013 sales volume, for a total of 108.5 billion liters of water replenished to communities and nature..

As part of replenish, The Coca-Cola Foundation has granted more than $2 million to support nine TNC freshwater replenishment projects in watersheds throughout North America: the Etowah and Flint Rivers in Georgia, Michigan’s Paw Paw River, the Trinity and Brazos River watersheds in Texas, the Platte River in Nebraska, the Ouachita River in Louisiana, the Kings River Preserve in Arkansas, and the Sacramento River watershed in California. Through this support, TNC is completing watershed restoration activities, informing policy initiatives and working with farmers and landowners on best management practices.

In recent years, the Coca-Cola system and TNC have also collaborated on three water footprint studies:

  • Coca-Cola® in a 0.5 liter PET bottle produced by Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (CCE) in the Netherlands;
  • Beet sugar supplied to Coca-Cola bottling facilities in Europe; and
  • Minute Maid® orange juice and Simply Orange® produced for the North American market.

Water footprints can inform how much water is required to produce the products we sell, notifying of the possibility of water scarcity issues in specific locations due to overuse in the watershed, or whether our water use could be causing undesirable ecological or social impacts.

Helping ensure water availability and quality for our business and the communities where we operate requires working closely with the public sector and civil society. With TNC, FEMSA Foundation and others, through the Latin American Water Funds Partnership, we have been assisting with implementation of water funds, a mechanism that champions conservation actions in communities upstream to help guarantee environmental services provided by nature to water users downstream.

In September 2014, our Coca-Cola Latin America Business Unit and its local bottlers committed to water security in Latin America and the Caribbean with a nearly $7.4 million investment up to 2016 to replenish 6.9 million cubic meters of water in watersheds across seven countries in the region through water fund activities.

Supported by the Latin American Water Council, of which The Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent and TNC President and CEO Mark Tercek are members, Latin America and Caribbean water fund conservation actions include reforestation and the generation of native ecosystems, such as moorlands, grasslands, forests, and others, which have been degraded, damaged or destroyed.

Coca-Cola and TNC are also partnering on a water fund in Africa to protect one of Kenya’s most important water sources, the Tana River. The first fund of its kind on the continent, the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund focuses on improvements in how lands and waters are managed upstream to benefit farmers, businesses, and Kenyans throughout the watershed.