Today, 22 March, is World Water Day, the flagship event supporting the UN’s Sustainability Development Goal to ensure water for all by 2030.
At Coca‑Cola HBC, this is a day when we reflect on the critical importance of this most precious natural resource. After all, our entire business relies on water – it’s not only essential as the primary ingredient of our products, it also sustains the communities we serve.
The theme of this year’s World Water Day is ‘Leaving no one behind’.
“This is an aspiration that perfectly aligns with our Mission 2025 Sustainability Commitments. It reflects our determination to provide complete water security in water-risk areas and drive down water use in our plants. As our commitments show, we have a clear and ambitious action plan that places sustainable water management at the core of our business,” says Marcel Martin, Group Supply Chain Director.
Specifically, we have two clear 2025 targets for water: to reduce water consumption at our facilities in water-risk areas by 20% and help ensure 100% water security for all the communities living in these areas. So, what are we doing to make these aspirations a reality
Water Stewardship - our commitment to reducing water use in our plants located in water-risk areas by 20%
We have had success reducing our water intensity, achieving a cumulative reduction of 22% vs. 2010 by the end of 2018. This puts us on track to achieve our target of reducing water usage per litre of beverage by 30% by 2020 compared to our 2010 baseline. Last year we introduced a new 2025 target to reduce water use in our plants located in water-risk areas by 20%.
In our plants, we assess future water availability and, as a result, we have decreased use while ensuring that wastewater is fully treated to levels that sustain aquatic life. Our close work with our suppliers also ensures that we understand the water footprint of raw materials, especially agricultural products.
The effectiveness of our water stewardship is certified against internationally recognised water stewardship standards, such as Alliance for Water Stewardship and the European Water Stewardship.
Water Availability - our commitment to help secure water availability for all our communities in water-risk areas
Our assessments show that there are around 17 water-risk locations in the 28 markets in which we operate. Most of these are in Nigeria, where the challenges are connected to access to water and sanitation. Other locations are in parts of Russia, Greece, Cyprus and Armenia, where we are in the process of planning or implementing water-replenishment activities.
These activities include providing access to drinking water in communities with a lack of access, purifying the waste water and using it for feeding livestock, and watershed protection and restoration. In Nigeria for example, we have commissioned solar-powered boreholes with an 8000-liter capacity to provide water to displaced people located in a camp in Maiduguri, in Borno state – this site is very close to our plant. We have also provided borehole facilities to locations in Rivers state and Kaduna state. Of course, our water stewardship work covers other countries too.
Marcel concludes: “We continue to vigorously support water conservation and provision initiatives, ensuring they feature prominently in the business plans of all our markets. We do this because we realise the unique importance of water, not just to our business, but in our communities. We want to do our part to leave no one behind. However, we know that there is more to do. Considering the regional variation of water issues, we need to take a context-based approach, with a focus on water risk areas so we make an impact where it matters most.”
Learn more about our 2025 Sustainability commitment on water here