By Patricia Obozuwa – Vice President, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Africa at The Coca-Cola Company.
The World Economic Forum ranks water crises as a top global risk. About 2.2 billion people across the globe lack access to safe drinking water. And the World Resources Institute projects that by 2030, there will be a 56% gap between the demand for water and the supply globally. These challenges affect our business, our customers, and the communities in which we operate. They are also the driving force behind our more in-depth 2030 water strategy.
It is fundamental that we, collectively rethink how we address and overcome these challenges.
Our story begins with water
Water is essential to every person and every ecosystem in the world. It is the lifeblood of communities. It is also essential to the products we make and the agricultural ingredients we use.
For over a decade, along with our bottling partners, The Coca-Cola Company has set a leading example in shared water management inside and outside our operations. Additionally, we have continued to improve the efficiency of our water use globally. We use 1.81 liters of water to produce 1 liter of our finished beverage, which is a 20% improvement compared to 2010. Globally we have continued to replenish more than 100% of the water we use in our finished beverages back to communities and nature since 2015. In 2021, we returned 167% of the water used in our finished beverages to nature and communities. And the work does not stop there.
The Coca-Cola Company has established leadership in community-based water programs with the support of The Coca-Cola Foundation, governments, civil society actors and other partners. Together, we have delivered sustainable community water interventions ranging from improving access to Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) to capacity building. In 2009, backed by a $65 million commitment, The Coca-Cola Foundation introduced the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) to improve water access — and measurably improve lives. The initiative has improved the lives of more than 6.7 million Africans by providing access to clean water and sanitation, productive use of water, and watershed protection in more than 4,000 communities across the Continent.
Building on our lasting legacy through JAMII
Coca-Cola’s Africa-focused sustainability platform JAMII is guided by our vision of building on our lasting legacy and leadership in water stewardship.
Along with our bottling partners, we recognize the need and urgency to do more to not only ensure the long-term sustainability of water for our business but for our communities across Africa.
The Coca-Cola Company’s 2030 Water Security Strategy outlines a vision of increasing water security for our operations, watersheds and communities.
We focus our attention and resources, as a system, on enhancing water management that helps our business, supply chain and local communities build resilience to a changing climate. This means improving capacities to withstand, recover from and adapt to the shocks and stressors related to climate change.
Collaboration and collective action needed, now more than ever
No entity can solve the water challenges alone. However, through JAMII, we believe in collective action and partnership to tackle this issue together. It is important that all relevant stakeholders have a voice, an investment, and a shared understanding of the outcomes to ensure we make the lack of access to safe water an issue of the past.