The Coca-Cola Company has announced that it fully replenished the water it uses globally that it takes to make billions of its juices, purified water and soft drinks.
The beverage giant, based in Atlanta, recently released an estimate that it returned close to 192 billion liters of water into watersheds and communities near its hundreds of different bottling plants during 2015, or close to 115% of the entire amount of water, it used in beverages last year.
It did this by treating its wastewater from bottling facilities, building water projects for clean drinking in areas that are impoverished, planting native grasses and trees that catch the rainfall and other different initiatives that helped to offset the huge water footprint the company has.
Coca-Cola announced that it was the first company in the Fortune 500 to reach this aggressive target of replenishing water it uses.
The achievement by Coca-Cola is part of a slowly growing push by different food and beverage businesses, steered for the most part by different environmental groups, to ensure that ample supplies of water remain as population growth and climate change threaten the freshwater resources of the world.
One of the largest competitors of Coke is PepsiCo. The beverage and food company said it was making investments that were similar to protect the watersheds where the company produces beverages and snacks and to set up safe drinking water for those millions of people who live around those areas.
The United Nations has estimated that withdrawals of the world’s supplies of freshwater increased by 1% annually over the last three years.
If companies and communities do not provide more to limit usage of water, withdrawals could increase by 55% before 2050, the water agency of the UN said in a report released in 2014. Over 40% of the population worldwide would live amongst the areas of severe stress on water if that were to happen.
Higher standards of living and increasing demand for consumer goods such as Cokes to cars and meat that is mass produced, are the biggest reasons why today’s world is using so much freshwater, said UN officials.
Coca-Cola has also experienced a debacle in India. Activists and farmers have voiced much concern that the bottling plants of the company are eroding the levels of groundwater, undermine agriculture locally and pollute water bodies that are nearby.