Africa’s biggest Coca-Cola bottler raises the bar for water stewardship with 2030 strategy

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With the arrival of World Water Week, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) is forging ahead with implementation of its 2030 Water Stewardship Strategy.

The continent’s biggest bottler of Coca-Cola beverages has been laying the foundation to implement the Coca-Cola system’s 2030 Water Stewardship Strategy, which focuses on sustainable, efficient water usage, improving local water challenges and partnering with others to improve watershed health and enhance community water resilience, focusing on women and girls.

The strategy has a strong emphasis on understanding the local context and needs of communities, which then informs the choice of appropriate interventions.

“We have a global Coca-Cola system framework with goals for operations, watershed health and communities, based on in-depth risk assessment. That determines our targets,” said CCBA’s supply chain director, Rian Hurter.  

CCBA head of sustainability, Diana Sibanda, said: “We are identifying where we have most volumes at risk and the watersheds they source from and will develop specific water projects and mobilise partnerships that can address water challenges.

“We will maintain the global metric of 100% replenishment, focusing on improving watershed health in water-stressed areas that are critical to our business, our communities and our agricultural supply chain. We are continually assessing our priority watersheds and engaging local stakeholders to devise integrated and holistic plans for collective action.”

For example, in Ethiopia, East Africa Bottling SC, in partnership with the community and local government, made a 3 million Birr investment to construct a reservoir and pipeline from a rehabilitated borehole, as well as installing a submersible pump to create a safe water supply for 3 000 households, along with health centres, schools and religious institutions in the community of Bahirdar Zuria Woreda in the Mi’erab Gojam zone.

A total of 17 000 community members will benefit, with positive impacts on health and development.

In South Africa, an expanding network of groundwater harvesting and treatment facilities is fulfilling its promises to provide millions of litres of water to water-distressed communities around the country.

By the end of July, the Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa’s Coke Ville groundwater community water project had reached over 10 000 homes, just shy of its target of reaching 12 000 homes by the end of 2021. These projects have cumulatively produced 51 million litres of water to these homes, well on the way to the 2021 year-end target of 80 million litres.

“CCBA, together with the Coca-Cola system are leaders in using water responsibly in our operations and giving it back,” said Sibanda.

“We continue to manage water resources through country projects that reduce water use in our operations, protect local water resources and provide safe, clean drinking water to communities in need.”

CCBA’s water stewardship initiatives complement the work of The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF) and its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), which gave improved access to clean water to six million Africans in more than 4 000 communities across 41 countries.

The Upper Tana River Basin, north of Nairobi, is home to two of the five mountain ranges that feed Kenya’s major waterways. The region is critical to Kenya’s economy since much of the nation’s famous coffee and tea is grown there, but soil erosion from these farming activities on the steep slopes reduced harvests and put Nairobi’s water treatment stations under pressure.

Around 95% of Nairobi’s water is pumped to the city from the Upper Tana River Basin, and based on the principle that it is cheaper and more efficient to address water challenges at the source, TCCF funded a RAIN grant to The Nature Conservancy to train farmers on soil erosion mitigation techniques.

This decreases sedimentation and lightens the load for Nairobi Water’s treatment stations.  

Sustainable access to safe water is critical to the health and economy of rural communities in Tanzania. In the past, community water systems have fallen into disrepair because of high costs and limited capacity to maintain and repair them. Solar power created new opportunities to provide rural Tanzanians with safe, affordable water. 

The Water for Development Alliance, an initiative of TCCF  and the US Agency for International Development, collaborated with The Ohio State University’s Global Water Institute, Waterboys, WorldServe International, and their local Tanzanian partner Majitech, to deliver sustainable water access to over 70 000 rural Tanzanians in 14 communities across the country.  

Safe water access was a constant issue for the residents of Marracuene, Mozambique. A TCCF grant to the Nando’s MaXamba enabled it to commission two water access points to ensure the 700 community members have access to an affordable, sustainable, and safe water source. To complement this infrastructure, TCCF grants were used to install a network of 50 handwashing stations and the community received training on best hygiene practices. To round out the intervention, the women-led community water association participated in economic empowerment activities and received basic operations and maintenance training to maintain the water infrastructure.

ENDS

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