Coca-Cola Commits to Conservation

We are routinely asked why WWF works with business. It’s a question we love to answer, because we believe that businesses have a crucial role to play in creating a healthy future for our planet – addressing direct threats to nature through their operations and value chains, leveraging their brands to bring awareness to key issues, and going beyond regulation, setting the standard for others to follow. And we have results that prove that these partnerships are indeed making a difference.

Amazon River, Brasil © Roger Leguen/WWF-Canon
Amazon River, Brasil © Roger Leguen/WWF-Canon

WWF’s partnership with Coca-Cola is a great example of the impact these partnerships can bring – for nature and for the bottom line. In 2007, we announced a transformational partnership to address key challenges in freshwater conservation and climate change, and promote more sustainable agriculture. We’re proud of our accomplishments to date, including:

  • Improving Coca-Cola’s water efficiency by 21.4%, over our target of 20% (compared to 2004)
  • Reducing Coca-Cola’s carbon emissions by 9% in developed countries (below 2004 levels), which both exceeds the goal of 5% and is well ahead of schedule, which was originally set for 2015
  • Helping conserve seven priority freshwater basins in some of the most important and vulnerable ecosystems in the world
  • Working with Bonsucro to develop and finalize certification standards for growing and milling sugarcane more sustainably. Coca-Cola was the first to purchase certified sugar in 2011

For more details on all of these achievements, please visit:
In Canada, Coca-Cola has been a founding partner for our freshwater program, supporting work in the Skeena river basin in BC and the St. Lawrence in Quebec, and has enabled us to develop our Freshwater Program in Canada.
In addition to our freshwater conservation efforts, WWF and The Coca-Cola Company joined forces to help protect the polar bear and its habitat. Building upon Coca-Cola’s support since 2007 of WWF’s polar bear conservation efforts, we launched the Arctic Home Campaign in North America during the 2011 holiday season to raise widespread awareness and funds for these efforts. To date, the campaign has raised more than $4 million. Through this campaign, WWF is working to help conserve the area in the Arctic that is predicted to be the most resilient to climate change, to offer a future to ice-dependent wildlife, like polar bears, and meet the needs of local communities.  Coca-Cola Canada has committed to supporting our Arctic work through the Arctic Home campaign until 2015.
With those successes delivering concrete conservation outcomes and providing a solid foundation to build on, we’re ready to take the next step together. On July 9, 2013, WWF and Coca-Cola announced the ambitious goals for the next phase of our partnership, setting the stage for our work together until 2020. Together, we aim to:

  1. Improve water efficiency by 25%. Coca-Cola will improve its water use efficiency per liter of product produced through operational advancements throughout the Coca-Cola system. This target complements the 21.4 percent improvement in water use efficiency achieved from 2004 through 2012.
  2. Help ensure healthy, resilient freshwater systems. Coca-Cola and WWF will expand their joint conservation efforts to 11 key regions across five continents, including river basins of the Amazon, Koshi, Mekong, Rio Grande/Bravo, Yangtze and Zambezi; the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef and Mesoamerican Reef; and key regions in the Amur-Heilong, Atlantic Forests and Northern Great Plains in North America.
  3. Reduce CO2 emissions embedded in ‘the drink in your hand’ by 25%. Coca-Cola will work to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions across its entire value chain, making comprehensive carbon footprint reductions across its manufacturing processes, packaging formats, delivery fleet, refrigeration equipment and ingredient sourcing.
  4. Responsibly source material for PlantBottle™ packaging. Coca-Cola will work with WWF to assess the environmental and social performance of plant-based materials for potential use in its PlantBottle™ packaging. This will enable the Company to meet its goal to use up to 30 percent plant-based material for all its PET plastic bottles by 2020.
  5. Sustainably source key agricultural ingredients. Coca-Cola will work to sustainably source its key ingredients, including sugarcane, sugar beet, corn, tea, coffee, palm oil, soy, pulp and paper fiber, and orange. Coca-Cola also has established Sustainable Agriculture Guiding Principles and will work with WWF to implement the guidelines throughout the Coca-Cola system for these commodities. In addition, Coca-Cola is also working to sustainability source lemon, grape, apple and mango.

We’re proud to be embarking on the next stage of this journey with such a strong, committed partner.  Reaching these new goals will take a lot of hard work, innovation and investment. There will be challenges and obstacles to overcome, but the results will be meaningful. Coca-Cola is leading by example, proving the business case for operating more sustainably and leveraging their scale and vast network to have an even bigger impact. At WWF, we’re in the business of change, and working with the right partners in business and conservation is one of the best ways to achieve the change we need to live in harmony with nature.
On behalf of everyone at WWF-Canada, I’d like to extend our thanks to Coca-Cola for their leadership and for taking this important step for the planet.