Looking back over 2014, The Coca-Cola Company and WWF global partnership team achieved great progress in helping address natural resource challenges that impact fresh water. Some partnership wins were big, some were little, but all important in their own way. Here’s a snapshot of what we consider major wins in our seventh year of partnership.
Coca-Cola’s main sugar supplier in Honduras, Azunosa (owned by SABMiller), became the first Bonsucro-certified company in Central America and the Caribbean. Adopting Bonsucro standards here will improve the health of the Mesoamerican Reef, business and local communities. Bonsucro certification was developed in cooperation with farmers, processors, traders, investors, food and beverage producers (such as The Coca-Cola Company), and civil society (including WWF) to encourage the sustainable sourcing of sugarcane.
Our global partnership is helping ensure healthy, resilient freshwater basins in the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) catchments in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras and the Yangtze River basin in China—so we set 2020 goals. In the MAR, we will promote integrated management in critical sub-watersheds, and will advance new policy approaches to conserve and protect fresh water. Yangtze plans aim to protect high conservation wetlands in critical sub-basins, and to develop and promote a water resource management model for collective action. Both basins will prioritize sustainable sourcing, with the MAR focused on sugar and the Yangtze tea.
As part of the regional planning process of the 7th World Water Forum, Coca-Cola and WWF hosted and participated in Water for Our Future on May 15 in Washington, D.C. The event convened some of the most influential voices in water for panel discussions, conversation and networking to explore challenges and solutions to today’s pressing water issues, and to contribute to the thematic agenda for the World Water Forum.
In support of the “Integrated Transboundary Ridges-to-Reef Management of the Mesoamerican Reef” project, Coca-Cola and WWF leveraged funds to secure additional funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other stakeholders for a total of nearly U.S. $70 million in financing. The project aims to enhance regional collaboration for the ecological integrity of the Mesoamerican Reef and scale up the ridge-to-reef approach to its management.
WWF, Coca-Cola and the Hunan Province in China announced a landmark partnership focused on the Liuyang tributary that will help ensure the Yangtze River, the third longest river in the world, becomes a healthy, resilient freshwater basin. Partners will promote sustainable development in the Xiang River, the Chang-Zhu-Tan city cluster, and Dongting Lake–areas of the basin that hold significant cultural, economic and ecological importance to the region.
Coca-Cola and WWF worked with University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business on a case study highlighting our partnership as a successful model of corporate-NGO collaboration in addressing natural resource challenges. The case study, “World Wildlife Fund and The Coca-Cola Company: A Global Partnership for Freshwater Conservation,” was incorporated into Darden’s The Global Economics of Water course in November 2014, and highlighted in The Washington Post’s “Case in Point.”
The partnership launched two valuing nature pilots in 2014. With the Luc Hoffman Institute and other partners, Coca-Cola and WWF are supporting work to assess how effective sustainability certification standards are at improving our world’s environmental footprint. And, with partners in Iowa’s Cedar River Valley, we are working to pilot and develop a novel agricultural approach to inform decisions for securing clean water. Through these pilots, and with the publication of a journal article in PNAS, we are helping to build the scientific foundation for natural capital.