In the beverage business, our plant directors quip that it takes great water to make great beverages. Since most of our products are made mostly of water, this makes literal sense. But it also speaks to more than composition of a product. It is a value statement.
The value our members place on water is best reflected in their commitment to water stewardship. Industry wide non-alcoholic beverage production only accounts for 0.038%--that’s roughly 4/100ths of 1% of America’s water use. Yet our members still focus on ways to reduce and replenish water use. They work to increase access to water and sanitation, collaborate on healthy watersheds around the world and challenge their supply chains to become more sustainable.
Reducing water use at our production facilities means reconfiguring flow and filtration processes. Turning goals into standard operating procedures has slashed water use 4.4% per unit of product since 2011. Expressed another way, these industry wide reductions have saved 2.7 billion liters of water and that number continues to climb. And the reductions occur while still maintaining the highest standards for quality and safety.
The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo take careful aim at replenishing water use in high risk areas, returning billions of liters to local watersheds. Their efforts include regenerating 100% of the water they use in these areas. And to keep themselves on track, member companies look to the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard and routinely share their progress.
Our industry also recognizes that water security and access to sanitation are vital to business continuity and to sustaining healthy communities. Companies invest domestically and globally in safe drinking water and sanitation infrastructure, particularly for vulnerable populations. Demand for water is climbing and purposeful action is necessary to ensure this resource is available.
None of this work is possible without significant collaboration. Companies engage with multiple stakeholders on scarcity, quality, ecosystems, infrastructure and governance. This includes sharing best practices and providing public education. Collaborators span groups such as the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, local water districts and many others. Their work touches key watersheds across America, including the Great Lakes.
Additionally, the beverage industry is highly engaged with their supply chain partners on water conservation. From supplier codes of conduct to farmer education, member companies work to secure water-sustainable ingredients. Reducing water use for more climate sensitive crops such as coffee, corn and apples demands innovative growing practices that also make good business sense and treat our agricultural suppliers as vital partners.
Finally, our members transparently share best practices and progress on all these important commitments. Whether they are collaborating with colleagues in the alcohol industry through the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) in state organizations like the newly formed Ohio Water Partnership or reporting back to shareholders, their efforts are making a difference. To learn more, check out sustainability reports from Coca-Cola, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo.