Coca Cola moves towards sustainable water use

Coca Cola has conducted a report detailing their water footprint in the first step to developing a long-term water sustainability plan.

The report conducted by Coca Cola and The Nature Conservancy, titled, Product Water Footprint Assessments: Practical Application in Corporate Water Stewardship, examines three pilot studies on Coca-Cola products and ingredients.

A product water footprint is the total volume of freshwater consumed, directly and indirectly, to produce a product. A full water footprint assessment considers the impacts of this water consumption on local watersheds, as well as appropriate response strategies to minimize those impacts.

Water footprint assessments provide insight into the largest components and locations of water consumption, the potential effects on local watersheds, and future water availability to serve the collective needs of communities, nature, producers, suppliers and companies.

The largest portion of the product water footprints assessed in the Coca Cola pilot studies came from the field.

The report revealed the green, blue and grey water footprints of Coca-Cola® in a 0.5 litre PET bottle produced in the Netherlands; beet sugar supplied to Coca-Cola bottling plants in Europe; and Minute Maid® orange juice and Simply Orange® produced for the North American market.

The water footprints of the 0.5 litre Coca-Cola beverage were estimated to be:
 

• Green water footprint – 15 litres;
• Blue water footprint – one litre;
• Grey water footprint -12 litres.

The water footprints for sugar from sugar beets across all regions of Europe were estimated to be:
 

• Green water footprint – 375 litres per kg sugar;
• Blue water footprint – 54 litres per kg sugar;
• Grey water footprint – 128 litres per kg sugar.

For Simply Orange sourced from Florida, the estimated water footprints were:
 

• Green – 386 litres per litre of product;
• Blue – 154 litres per litre of product;
• Grey – 100 litres per litre of product.

For Simply Orange sourced from both Florida and Brazil, the water footprints were:
 

• Green – is 407 litres per litre of product;
• Blue -127 litres per litre of product;
• Grey water footprint – 117 litres per litre of product.

For Minute Maid sourced in Florida and Costa Rica, the water footprints were:

• Green – 319 litres per litre of product;
• Blue – 115 litres per litre of product;
• Grey – 84 litres per litre of product.

Water and sustainable agriculture director Denise Knight at Coca Cola said the water footprint report showed “significant opportunity” for the beverage giant to liaise with suppliers to ensure sustainable water use in the cultivation of ingredients. 

Ms Knight said the company’s initial focus was to find sustainable sources for sugarcane, oranges and corn.