Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Company is making strong headway on its march to water neutrality, the beverage giant revealed in its ninth annual sustainability report.
Since 2005, as part of the efforts to become water neutral by 2020, the Coca-Cola system has conducted 382 community water projects in 94 countries, working hand in hand with local governments and partners including WWF, the United States Agency for International Development, The Nature Conservancy and CARE.
Also in 2011, the water use ratio in manufacturing operations achieved its targeted 20 percent reduction, based on a 2004 baseline. In September of this year, the company announced a long-term global clean water partnership with DEKA Research and Development to bring DEKA President Dean Kamen’s “Slingshot” technology to communities where potable water access is limited.
Other accomplishment highlighted in the company’s sustainability report include distributing more than 10 billion fully recyclable PlantBottle packages across 24 countries, eliminating the need for the equivalent of more than 200,000 barrels of oil since the debut of this innovative plastic bottle in 2009. The company said it will continue to accelerate global production of plastic packaging made from plants. In September, Coca-Cola announced a partnership with JBF Industries Ltd. to build the world’s largest facility to produce bioglycol – the key ingredient used to make PlantBottle packaging.
“Coca-Cola is intent on growing our business by making a difference wherever our business touches the world and the world touches our business. We are committed to enhancing people’s lives, economically empowering women, providing access to safe water and promoting water replenishment – in collaboration with critical partners from civil society and government,” said Bea Perez, chief sustainability officer for The Coca-Cola Company.
One of the company’s goals is for all of its new cold-drink equipment to be HFC-free by 2015. Twenty-four percent of the company’s 2011 cold-drink equipment purchases were HFC-free. Also in 2011, CO2 was adopted as the system’s HFC-free refrigerant of choice for new equipment purchases. By phasing out HFCs, Coca-Cola expects to avoid the emission of more than 52.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over the life of its equipment fleet.
The 2011-2012 Sustainability Report is a fully interactive website featuring videos, social media capabilities, third-party opinions on global challenges, and an updated digital design. The report can be accessed through smartphones, tablets and other popular mobile devices.