Coke Philippines commits to water stewardship

Published September 30, 2021, 6:14 PM

by James A. Loyola

Coca-Cola Philippines, the country’s leading beverage company, is reiterating its commitment to make a greater impact on communities with its 2030 water strategy as access to clean water for handwashing continues to be very important in the campaign against COVID-19.

In a statement, the firm said water stewardship has long been a business imperative for Coca-Cola, but the company aims to do more to increase water use efficiency in the production of its beverages and to help communities address local water resource challenges such as the availability of clean water.

It noted that, one in 10 Filipinos still do not have access to the water resources necessary to sustain simple activities like handwashing, cooking, and cleaning.

Coca-Cola’s global 2030 Water Security Strategy focuses on three priorities involving operations, communities, and watersheds: Reducing shared water challenges around the world, enhancing community water resilience, and improving the health of priority watersheds.

“We have a long history in the Philippines and around the world of supporting local water stewardship programs and we’re committed to doing more,” said Tony Del Rosario, Coca-Cola Philippines President and VP for Franchise Operations for the ASEAN and South Pacific Unit-East Asia Region.

He added that, “For us, it’s a business imperative. Water is essential to our products and the communities where we operate.” Through its social investment arm, Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, the company is also giving back to the communities and nature with long-term water-driven initiatives.

Since 2011, the Foundation’s Agos Program has coordinated with local partners in making safe water accessible to underserved communities.

One such community is Barangay Kulasi in Sumilao, Bukidnon, where the collaborative effort of Coca-Cola Foundation and Del Monte Foundation led to the establishment of a Level 2 Water System in March 2020.

The project has given the community of approximately 600 residents closer access to clean and safe water for daily household consumption. This project also provided training and education on proper water stewardship to ensure long-term impact.

Savings from the initial project grant were also utilized to rehabilitate part of the existing Level-2 water system to enable continuous supply of safe water to 120 families in Sitio Basin, Brgy. Kuya in Maramag, also in the province of Bukidnon.

“We’re committed to these ongoing types of community programs and we intend to sustain the focus and engagement. We are thankful to our supportive partners for making sustainable programs like Agos touch and improve the lives of many Filipinos,” said Cecile Alcantara, President of Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines.

In recognition of its industry-leading water management practices, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI)—the bottling arm of Coca-Cola in the country—was recently awarded best in Water Resource Management by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) during its first Europa 2020 awards.

The company continues to strengthen its water efficiency in all of its bottling facilities. In 2020, this translated to a 31 percent decrease in absolute water consumption and an improvement in its water use ratio, or the amount of water used per liter of beverage produced.

“Our promise is that every bottle of Coke is being made with the highest standards of safety and quality—and integral to this is our holistic approach to sustainability,” said Gareth McGeown, President & CEO of Coca-Cola Beverage Philippines, Inc.

He added that, “From water stewardship and responsible energy use to ensuring that our bottles are returnable and 100 percent recyclable—we are committed to being a company whose service to local communities is anchored on sustainability.”