Momentum for Change: The Coca-Cola Company and WWF Partnership to Protect Freshwater Resources


Focus area: mitigation and adaptation
Location: Asia, the Americas, Africa and Europe
Activity established: May 2007

With the ambitious goal of inspiring a global movement to conserve water, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Coca-Cola Company are working across several fronts: within manufacturing plants to improve water efficiency and reduce climate impacts, throughout the company's supply chain to promote sustainable agriculture, and on the ground to conserve priority river basins. Through this partnership, our goals are to:

  • Conserve seven of the world's most important freshwater basins, including the Yangtze, the Mekong and the Danube Rivers and the Rio

  • Grande/Rio Bravo; Lake Niassa; the Mesoamerican reef catchments; and rivers and streams of the southeastern United States.

  • Improve water efficiency within the company's operations by 20 percent by 2012, a goal recently achieved.

  • Promote sustainable agricultural practices throughout key areas of the company's supply chain, focusing on sugar cane, oranges and corn -- three primary ingredients used in the company's beverages.

  • Inspire a global movement to conserve water.

Together, we have restored habitats for key species, helped establish new policies for freshwater conservation, and improved water quality and quantity for nature, people and business. We have educated communities on better management practices, , and improved livelihoods through more sustainable agricultural practices that have led to greater incomes. Additionally, we have achieved water efficiency improvements, climate reductions, and have helped to establish a new standard for more sustainable sugarcane production.

Mitigation / Adaptation


Potential for scaling-up and replication

Freshwater basins are highly susceptible to climate change impacts, yet healthy watersheds are essential to life, health, economic growth and prosperity. They also play an important role in climate mitigation as freshwater ecosystems like floodplains and wetlands act to naturally safeguard against both flooding and drought. In the efforts to conserve and restore freshwater basins, the team has worked to educate communities on better management practices and improved livelihoods through more sustainable agriculture practices that have led to greater incomes.

The activity works with local communities to understand their needs and the solutions that will help bolster their watershed and their local resources. Solutions include, but are not limited to, watershed management tools, community engagement for planning and development, improving quantity and quality of speciesin the watershed, and better agricultural management practices and training, . For example, the team has worked with community-based organizations in the Motagua-Polochic
river system in Guatemala, a primary contributor of sediment and organic pollutants to the Mesoamerican Reef, to develop sustainable agricultural production practices. Community-based organizations are now producing crops such as coffee, cardamom and honey by using sustainable
growing methods. This has resulted in multiple benefits for the area, including a reduction in erosion and runoff across thousands of acres, better protection of the freshwater ecosystem, and increased income for local families.

Due to the method of working with local communities to understand the problems and tailoring solutions to the specific area while using best practices to implement solutions in similar situations, the activity is highly replicable.   With the lessons learned in Guatemala, the team has extended conservation efforts to the ChamelecĂłn basin in Honduras.



Image: Chris Martin Bahr / WWF-Canon.