TNC and The Coca-Cola partnership

When The Coca-Cola Company began to envision potential long-term impacts of water scarcity and poor quality on their production in 2004, its executives revised their business strategy for sustainable growth by taking into account water stewardship.[1]   In an interview on June 19, 2012 with Jeff Seabright, a former Vice President of Coca Cola’s Environment and Water Resources Division, he emphasized Coca-Cola’s 2007 commitment to sustainability as a key to balance short-term and long-term management.[2] The leaders of Coca-Cola acknowledged the vital role of collaboration with other stakeholders, including communities, institutions, governments, and organizations in achieving their goals of sustainable water use and conservation. Among those partnerships, Coca-Cola started working with TNC in 2007 to gain a better understanding of the positive impacts and effectiveness of water conservation activities. By quantifying the benefits of Coca-Cola’s investment in community watershed partnership (CWP) projects, TNC helped the company design and develop future conservation projects.

The Conservancy assisted Coca-Cola in measuring the amount of water coming from water conservation projects in which Coca-Cola participated. In addition, experts from TNC evaluated water-related risks and vulnerabilities of their current and future business interests. Since Coca-Cola realized increasing water scarcity could impact production costs, involvement in conservation became a profit motive for the company. TNC’s technical tools offered Coca-Cola a better understanding of the health of the watersheds that Coca-Cola relied on and their cooperation with suppliers, governments, and stakeholders.8

In return, Coca-Cola contributed financial support to TNC’s watershed restoration activities. The company donated approximately two million dollars for at least nine freshwater replenishment projects that TNC was developing.[3] These projects took place from 2009 to 2012 in many large watersheds across many states, including the Etowah and Flint Rivers in Georgia, Michigan’s Paw Paw River, the Trinity and Brazoes River Watersheds in Texas, the Everglades Headwaters in Florida, and the Sacramento River Watershed in California.10 The partnership with Coca-Cola enhanced TNC’s efforts in informing policy initiatives and working with farmers and landowners on the best watershed management practices.

[1] “The Water Stewardship and Replenish Report”. The Nature Conservancy and The Coca-Cola Company. January 2011. http://www.nature.org/media/companies/coke_replenish_report_2011.pdf

[2] “Importance of Corporate Sustainability – The Coca-Cola Company.” The Nature Conservancy.  Accessed by March 6, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/embed/_INXZSEHOh0

[3] Limno Tech. “Quantifying Watershed Restoration Benefits in Community Water Partnership Projects”. January 25, 2010: http://www.nature.org/media/companies/coke_watershed_restoration.pdf

 

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