After about ten years of consistent effort, Coca-Cola has managed to cut down the usage of water by a third for making one litre of the product. 

From 2.8 litres of water needed to make one litre of the product, the water usage has now been reduced to 1.89 litres. 

As part of its commitment to the community, over the last decade The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) has designed its water conservation effort on three principles of ‘Reduce, Recycle and Replenish.'

The policy has served as a guiding light for TCCC to work in the interest of the community to ensure its business is sustainable. It has driven the company to use water more efficiently and also giving back to the community in different ways.

To reduce the usage of water, Coca-Cola has initiated several changes in its production process. Consistent changes in the use of improved technology that cuts down the usage of water have also been introduced. Part of the water is used for the manufacture of various products, some of it is used to keep the equipment clean.

Other technologies like backwash recoveries, secondary use of water by steam segregation and others have also added to the efforts to reduce consumption of water.

Most of the water is reused at the bottling plants for all the Coca-Cola brands, which is just the beginning of the recycling efforts. Several maintenance processes such as boiler make up, cooling towers, gardening, toilet flushing and floor cleaning involve the reuse of water. The water that is not used here is released after purifying it to a level that supports aquatic life.

The numbers are now beginning to show. During 2014, the average annual freshwater withdrawal was 1121 billion cubic metres and 40 billion cubic metres was used for industries. Coca-Coca India used 0.023 per cent of the total industrial withdrawal in 2015. With its efforts, along with its partners, Coca-Cola has created water replenishment potential of 148 per cent compared to the water used during the manufacturing process.

Replenishment of water is the key to Coca-Cola’s efforts to give back to the society. Working with its partners, the company puts in its effort to revive water level in water bodies, dams, ponds and others. The focus of such efforts is to replenish the groundwater that is being used.

Locations which are water-stressed are chosen and Coca-Cola works along with its non-government organisation (NGO) partners. The Company believes that if it can bring about even a small change, the impact at these locations can be felt immediately. The impact is actively monitored by senior company officials so that there is empirical confirmation of the benefits to the local community.

Coca-Cola’s bottling units regularly carry out Source Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) and Source Water Protection Plans (SWPP) to mitigate any worries on the excessive water usage.

A little under half the districts across India are facing various stages of water stress. Union minister of state for drinking water and sanitation Ram Kripal Yadav had informed Parliament last year that 308 districts are facing shortage of drinking water supply across Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Uttar Pradesh (50), Madhya Pradesh (46), Maharashtra (33) and Karnataka (27) were the worst affected among all states, according the reply. 

Water is a finite resource and its responsible use is the best way to run a sustainable business. Coca-Cola seeks to grow its business while working towards the welfare of the society.