Environment Forum

Coke sets targets for cuts in water, emissions

October 30, 2008

Coca-Cola is the latest American brand working to improve its environmental credentials with a sweeping new program that pledges to improve water efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions throughout its massive global system.

The soft drink maker today said that through a partnership with environmental group WWF, it has commited to eliminating 50 billion liters of water from its bottling plants by 2012 by improving water efficiency by 20 percent over 2004 levels. Coke’s announcement comes a few months after General Electric said it would cut water usage by 20 percent by 2012.

The beverage industry has increasingly become a target for environmentalists, who say plastic soda and water bottles add to landfills while the companies themselves use too much energy producing and shipping bottles across the world. 

Coke also pledged to promote more sustainable agricultural practices, initially focusing on sugar cane production. It will work with two additional crops beginning next year.

The water initatives build on an agreement Coke struck last year with WWF in which it vowed to “return to communities and to nature an amount of water water equivalent to what we use in all of our beverages and their production.” Coke at the time said it would commit to specific targets for reducing water usage this year.

Coke’s biggest challenge is reducing its carbon or water footprint while its business keeps growing. The company said it plans to “grow the business, not the carbon system-wide.” That goal will prevent the release of more than 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2015 — about the equivalent of planting 600,000 acres of trees. In developed countries, Coke will reduce emissions by 5 percent from 2004 levels by 2015.

Comments
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HiAll this is good and well but Coke’s contribution to its green project is only 18 millions while its profit is up 14% to 1.9 billion. They put back into the communities only 1% of their profit while their products rely 100% on water taken from the communities around the world. They might as well pump air add a little perfume and ask us to pay for the air we breathe.Here’s a few examples from Maud barlow’s most recent book “Blue Covenant”: Coca Cola is taking massive amount of ground water in Central Java ruining the lives of farmers, in the state of Chiapas, Mexico coca cola extract enough water to supply five villages while local residents go without water, in India coca cola and pepsi are creating water shortages by overpumping water.These examples can be found p135-136 of Maud’s book.Coke is exploiting communities and showing a beautiful triple bottom line report is not fooling everyone.This article only reflect the positive side of Coke which is a shame.Nicolas

Posted by nicolas | Report as abusive
 

Thank you Nick. It should also be noted that 30,000 children(mostly in Africa and India) die each and every day from treatable diseases brought on by dysentery and a lack of adequate medical care. This is the legacy of Coca- Cola and Nestle as well as mining companies entering into agreements with underdeveloped towns to access their well water supplies. Quite often these corporations and their subsidiaries pump the aquifers dry leaving town people to rely on rain and river water which is either scarce or bacteria infested.Thomas Jefferson stated ” The Creator has endowed man with certain inalienable rights. Among these rights are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” In my view Jefferson is stating that these rights are “among” the inalienable rights of man and that there are more. John Locke would certainly agree and so do I.Is access to water and land necessary to sustain life? What about Health care in a world increasingly contaminated by the activities of industry? Is Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness available only to those who can purchase land and water? I for one think we should expand our understanding of the rights of man. We have expanded our understanding of every thing else.I have no doubt that the nationalization of land, resources and other reforms in developing nations around the world are in response to human suffering generated by the activities of multi-national corporations that once did business in those countries. Are these consequences that this type of business model has brought about acceptable. Do they do anything to promote better relations amongst nations and secure peace? These corporations have certainly secured profits, but at what price? What roll can we play in all of this?

 

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