Coca-Cola’s commitment to sustainability

By Greg Koch

Director, Global Water Stewardship, The Coca Cola Company

Coca-Cola has taken a holistic approach to water stewardship. Not only implementing changes at an operational level, such as introducing greater efficiency in the usage of water and wastewater treatment standards in manufacturing, our company is involved in over 200 community water projects, reaching people in 61 countries with schemes which promote safe drinking water, sanitation and water conservation.

In collaboration with partners we have spent some $2 billion on water programmes and are committed to increasing the level of investment as sales volume grows.

A global initiative

The worldwide response to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (“MDGs”) has seen increased activity from all sectors in water conservation and replenishment.

Water stewardship strategies are now commonplace at multinationals, particularly those within the food and beverage industry; the private sector has led from the front, with investment of expertise in developing solutions and a recognition of the risk water quality and quantity presents to business.

Looking ahead

For water preservation to be properly addressed, it must be interlinked with food and energy production. As with many issues affecting communities across the world, education is key to real change. Greater policy implementation, at both government and corporate levels, is required to help communities deal with water more sustainably, and advancement of affordable technology will always be necessary.

At Coca-Cola, our company is engaging with its agricultural supply chain; as an example, a sustainable corn project is ongoing and aims to both protect biodiversity in the environment and improve standards of living for farmers.

Working alongside charity, governments and industry partners, Coca-Cola is focused on helping ensure that water, sanitation and hygiene is universally available and recognises that this cannot be achieved unless freshwater ecosystems are also maintained.

Sustainable Development Goals

The UN’s 2015 Sustainable Development Summit will address many global issues. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include the promotion of sustainable food production, the preservation of ecosystems and a comprehensive set of measures which aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

There is no doubt that partnership working will be vital going forward but through strong relationships amongst, and between, sectors and with international support at a government level, positive change can be achieved.

Biography – Greg Koch

Greg joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1996. He has nearly 30 years of experience and is a globally recognized leader in the water resource management space.  Currently, Greg leads Coca-Cola’s global water stewardship strategy across 1,000 facilities and numerous agricultural supply regions, by focusing on: water use efficiency and wastewater management in production facilities; watershed protection and climate change adaptation; community water initiatives; supply chain water management, global awareness and action, and water policy engagement. He collaborates with bottling partners, governments, NGOs, aid/development agencies and communities throughout the Coca-Cola system.