Coca Cola GB Case Study - Water

Coca-Cola Great Britain is committed to handling water carefully across its business and value chain. In 2012, they established a long-term partnership with WWF in East Anglia to aid sustainable agriculture while protecting England's unique chalk stream rivers. The project drives further collective action amongst stakeholders and promotes the positive role businesses can play in water stewardship.

The project works in two river catchments in East Anglia, which include some of the UK's most precious wildlife habitats and rivers. However, most rivers in the area are failing to meet good ecological status due to pollution from agricultural production and over-abstraction.

Through farm visits, meetings, and events with a range of stakeholders, the partnership has engaged with over 2,500 farmers to improve the way they manage their land and reduce the impacts of production on the freshwater environment. Bespoke farm plans have been made for over 135 farms and practical measures such as installing silt-traps, using cover crops, and employing buffer strips have helped to replenish water and improve water quality.

Using their work to showcase good practice, the partnership demonstrates and encourages collective action between the 'golden triangle' of civil society, business and government. Their work has instigated an upscaling of water stewardship across East Anglia and nationally. Within the Catchment Based Approach, they have established the Water Stewardship Service which helps businesses work together to deliver sustainable solutions for water, accelerating the change required to restore the UK's rivers. In partnership, they have:

  • Replenished over 1.2 billion litres of water and developed innovative ways of farming (e.g. working with the University of East Anglia).
  • Around 1,000ha of land is now farmed more sustainably with improved soil and water quality.
  • Talked to Government to showcase water stewardship in action and to influence positive policy change.
  • Helped establish a community-led approach, engaging a wide variety of local stakeholders to improve water environments.

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"Water stewardship is at the heart of our business, with water being the most important ingredient in all our drinks. Not only is it vital for us to protect the sustainability of our water for future generations, we're also committed to replenishing 100% of the water we use in areas of water stress. Our WWF partnership over the last six years has achieved some remarkable results and we want to continue to show other businesses the positive impacts that water stewardship and nature-sensitive farming can bring and encourage them to join us in this important work."

Jon Woods General Manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain