Water Resource Sustainability Manager
Coca-Cola North America
Jon manages Coca-Cola North America’s water stewardship program, which assesses and mitigates water risks facing Coca-Cola operations on a local, regional and national basis. Primary areas of focus include water conservation initiatives within manufacturing facilities, source water protection strategies, community water partnerships and sustainable agriculture initiatives within the supply chain. Jon’s leadership in these areas has helped to position The Coca-Cola Company as an industry leader in water stewardship. A member of The Coca-Cola Company and WWF global partnership team, Jon manages the Company’s partnership work with WWF within North America, including the Rio Grande basin and Northern Great Plains ecoregion.
What is your first memory of water?
My first memory of water was at the beach with my family when I was probably 4 or 5 years old. Being the youngest of three, I was trying to follow my older brother and sister into the waves, with little success. I remember being in awe of the power of the waves and frankly scared to death. So I ended up sitting there in frustration, resigned to playing in the sand by myself safely up on the beach.
Did you envision a career in water?
Yes, I’ve been involved in water from the beginning of my career. I was a geology major and when it came time to go to graduate school and pick a specialty I was deciding between geophysics, which meant working in the oil patch, and hydrogeology. It was an easy decision for me to take the hydro path. I worked in the environmental consulting field for several years, and was focused on groundwater remediation and water resource development projects when I got the opportunity to join Coca-Cola. It’s been incredible to take part in the evolution of Coca-Cola’s water stewardship program and to see such growing interest around water sustainability issues across the globe.
Why is fresh water important to you?
I think everyone would agree that fresh water is essential to life as we know it. In addition to the basic needs of hydration and sanitation, water supports our ecosystems, our communities and our livelihoods. It provides recreation and aquatic habitat (I am an avid fly fisherman and kayaker!) and serves important cultural and aesthetic purposes. We simply must restore and protect our freshwater resources for our current and future well-being.
Why are cross-sector partnerships critical in addressing global water challenges?
No single entity can solve the world’s water issues – they are too big and too complex. Not only do all sectors have a vested interest and shared responsibility to solve these issues, but different sectors (i.e., business, government, civil society) bring different perspectives, experience and expertise to the table that are needed to create workable and sustainable solutions.
What impact will the Coca-Cola and WWF partnership have toward addressing global water challenges?
I think our partnership has already had a positive impact. Not only have we made significant on-the-ground improvements in key river basins around the world, but we have demonstrated that very different organizations can find alignment and work together to address large-scale water issues. I am confident that our ongoing partnership will inspire others to join the effort and help us reach the goals around freshwater sustainability that we all share.