Company oversees the operation of more than a thousand
beverage manufacturing plants in nearly 200 countries
around the world. Water is an essential ingredient to
their products. To assure a continuous supply of high
quality freshwater, all facilities are expected to evaluate
the reliability of water sources on which they depend.
The Coca-Cola Company has recently
undertaken source protection planning, a cost-effective
program to improve the safety of their water treatment
systems, without increasing treatment costs. Source
protection plans must include a comprehensive assessment
of potential sources of contamination, strategies to
protect wellheads and aquifer recharge zones, and active
participation in local watershed management efforts.
Each of the 25 plants located in areas of water scarcity
received increased technical and financial support from
the regional offices, sometimes using consulting services
to assess in-depth water supply reliability. A self-assessment
tool was developed to support long term planning of
water use for the bottling operations as well as for
their broader hydrographic basins.
To assure high quality water in production,
Coca-Cola plants operate a complete multiple-barrier
water treatment system using the approach below.
Water Treatment Approach
Watershed management initiatives may
reduce treatment costs by improving the quality of the
water inputs at the source. Reduced microbial load and
lower concentration of nutrients, which will generate
less algae, limit the need for expensive treatment steps.
For example, since 1995, a Coca-Cola
bottling plant in Brazil has invested more than $2 million
in partnership with the municipality and other businesses
to protect the Jundiaí River watershed, the primary
source of water for that community. As a result, two
key sanitation projects (a new solid waste landfill
and a new wastewater treatment plant) were built, dramatically
improving the quality of the water reaching the reservoir.
The plant, which is the largest in the Coca-Cola system,
also improved water use efficiency by lowering its usage
ratio from 2.9 to 1.7 liters of water per liter of beverage.
Educational activities focused on
water conservation are also sponsored by the Jundiaí
plant, including daily school visits to the new fish
habitat created at the plants wastewater treatment
Coca-Cola is finding that source water
protection is an effective business continuity strategy
that can reduce costs, improve ecosystem health, and
benefit the communities where it operates.