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Coca-Cola Commits to Reducing Water Use and Cutting CO2 Emissions

Coca-Cola has committed itself to a 20 percent improvement in water efficiency over 2004 levels in its worldwide operations by 2012, saving about 50 billion litres of fresh water over projected use that year.

The water saving targets were negotiated under the terms of a partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and WWF.

Also announced were ambitious targets for reductions in carbon emissions, a commitment for action down the Coca-Cola supply chain and conservation support for some of the world’s most important freshwater basins.

“Our sustainability as a business demands a relentless focus on efficiency in our use of natural resources,” said Muhtar Kent, president and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.

“These performance targets are one way we are engaging to improve our management of water and energy.”

Commitments to “grow the business, not the carbon” and achieve a five per cent absolute reduction in emissions over 2004 levels for all developed country operations are expected to produce savings of 2 million tonnes of CO2 in 2015, the equivalent of planting trees over an area of nearly 250,000 hectares.

“In this resource constrained world, successful businesses will find ways to achieve growth while using fewer resources,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US.

“The Coca-Cola Company’s commitment to conservation responds to the imperative to solve the global water and climate crisis.”

In addressing sustainability issues down its supply chain, Coca-Cola will look first at sugar where it is a major global consumer. The company and WWF are working with the Better Sugarcane Initiative to establish standards, evaluate suppliers and set goals for the purchase of sugar.

Coca-Cola is also to identify two further commodities for action in 2009.

Possibly the most far-reaching of the initiatives announced today by the company are joint conservation initiatives with WWF for some of the world’s most important freshwater resourcesincluding the Yangtze, Mekong, Danube, Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, Lakes Niassa and Chiuta, the Mesoamerican Reef catchments, and rivers and streams in the southeastern United States.

More than a dozen production plants and /or bottlers in the areas surrounding these rivers are developing and implementing comprehensive water stewardship plans.

It is intended that these plans will ultimately serve as models for similar water resource conservation frameworks wherever Coca-Cola operates.

“Water and energy conservation are areas where we can truly make a difference,” said Kent.

“Last year, we set a goal to return to communities and to nature an amount of water equal to what we use in our beverages and their production. These targets support our work to achieve that goal.”

WWF and The Coca-Cola Company announced the $US 20 million partnership in 2007. The partnership has now been extended additional two years (through 2012) with Coca-Cola providing $US 3.75 million in new funding.

Coca-Cola is also a member of WWF’s Climate Savers programme, which has seen some of the world’s leading corporations achieve dramatic cuts in emissions.

“The expansion of our partnership with WWF demonstrates our shared dedication to achieving large-scale results, and a grounded understanding that collaboration is key if we are to help address the world’s water challenge,” Kent said.

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