Coca-Cola Helps Advance Water Sustainability Projects in the Pacific Region

The Coca-Cola Company will donate $4 million through its Coca-Cola Foundation to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Water Stewardship Program in China and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Yangtze Partnership.

These donations form part of the company’s long-standing commitment to water stewardship. Since 2007, initiatives across Asia Pacific have followed a three-pronged approach to water sustainability that can be summarized as “Reduce, Recycle and Replenish.” Coca-Cola’s 2020 goal is to safely return to nature and communities an amount of water equivalent to what is used in all of its beverages and their production. As part of that goal, Coca-Cola will improve water use efficiency by 20 percent by 2012, while also continuing to expand its support of watershed protection and sustainable community water programs in the Pacific region.

Two million dollars of this commitment would be provided to support the UNDP Water Stewardship Program in China, which helps manage water resource efficiency and drinking water safety in China.

The program was initiated in 2007 as a unique public-private partnership between Coca-Cola, the Chinese Government’s Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Commerce and UNDP. The partnership aims to improve the livelihoods of rural farmers and residents, as well as provide safe drinking water to local communities and improve water resource management.

Including this latest donation, Coca-Cola has provided more than $5 million to the partnership’s programs thus far.

“The UNDP Water Stewardship Program has been establishing pilot sites and improving the quality and quantity of drinking water in underserved rural areas across China since 2007, and Coca-Cola is delighted to be able to continue to support the organization in this important work,” said Geoff Walsh, director of Pacific Group Public Affairs and Communications.

“The money donated will sustain the initiative’s operations until 2013, ensuring that the UNDP can continue to raise awareness of important issues including water re- use, sustainable agriculture, and water policy advocacy,” said Silvia Morimoto, deputy country director of UNDP China.   “We are thrilled that The Coca-Cola Company remains stalwart in its support of the UNDP Water Stewardship Program, which has accomplished a great deal towards developing best practices for communities across the country. With this second donation, we will be able to push through with further plans, including the Guangxi Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative, which will help residents of Guangxi province develop new sustainable sugarcane cultivation practices in the aftermath of recent natural disasters that cut off established water supplies. The program will open access to safe drinking water while providing communities with a system to sustainably maintain their livelihoods going forward .”

An additional $2 million commitment towards Coca-Cola’s efforts as part of the ongoing WWF and Coca-Cola Yangtze Partnership. Originally set up in 2007, the Yangtze Partnership has become a transformational NGO-business partnership that has improved the health of key water source areas in the Yangtze River basin and, subsequently, the living standards of surrounding communities. Coca- Cola’s donation will ex tend the Partnership until 2013, while focusing on river/wetland restoration, as well as improving the agricultural use of water and anti-pollution measures.

Including this latest donation, Coca-Cola has provided more than $4.5 million to the WWF Yangtze Partnership in China since 2007.

“The Yangtze Partnership has also advocated wetland conservation in 18 provinces through its Wetland Ambassador Action (WAA), a public awareness program launched across China," Walsh said. "The WAA initiative has reached an estimated 330,000 people directly and another 3.8 million indirectly, promoting better conservation of water and wetland ecosystems since 2007. Coca-Cola is proud to say that with this added donation, the Partnership will be able to continue its important work by replenishing an estimated 1 billion liters of water per year. Through to 2013, 7 million people are expected to benefit from the WWF water resource conservation project. ”

The ongoing support of Coca-Cola has been invaluable to all of our important accomplishments in the project region since 2007 and this added donation will allow us to continue our work towards enhancing freshwater supply. Our next initiative will focus on protecting and restoring freshwater ecosystems, which will promote an ecological approach to river restoration and waste water treatment across key freshwater habitats in the upper Yangtze,” said Dr. Zhu Chunquan, conservation director of biodiversity and operations for WWF China.

“With over 320 formalized partnerships with civic and government organizations, The Coca-Cola Company today helps protect and conserve water resources in some 86 countries," Walsh said. "This is an issue that is integrated with our business worldwide and is a hallmark of our LIVE POSITIVELY system-wide sustainability framework. LIVE POSITIVELY is created on the foundation of our commitment to making a positive difference in the world, and it is embedded within our entire business at every level. The LIVE POSITIVELY framework consists of seven core areas key to our business sustainability: Beverage Benefits; Active Healthy Living; Community; Energy Efficiency and Climate Protection; Sustainable Packaging; Water Stewardship; and Workplace. With these objectives in mind, we will continue leveraging our core competence to address difficult issues in the Pacific region and worldwide, and create enduring, relevant solutions.”