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Coca-Cola Returns 100% of Water Used in Production to Nature, Local Communities Through Project Catalyst

Aug 31, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

The world feels the love from Coca-Cola. The company announced that they've achieved having replenished back to nature and the community the equivalent of all the water used in production. This marks the first time a Fortune 500 company has achieved a water replenishing feat of this magnitude.

According to a press release sent to Nature World News from DecPR, Australia's Coca-Cola water replenishment contribution was accomplished through Project Catalyst. The project is a partnership between the global company, 78 Queensland cane growers and other major program partners Reef Catchments, Catchment Solutions, NQ Dry Tropics, Terrain Natural Resource Management, the Australian Government and the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).

For Coca-Cola, Project Catalyst set out to balance the equivalent of 100 percent of the water used in the company's beverages in Australia, specifically "return" it to the Great Barrier Reef through the implementation of agricultural innovations, such as targeted soil analysis, digital mapping and precision farming practices in sugarcane production. An assessment validated by LimnoTech and Deloitte and conducted in association with The Nature Conservancy revealed that the Coca-Cola system gave back roughly 191.9 billion liters of water in 2015, which is about 115 percent of the total water used in Coca-Cola production in that year.

 "Achieving this global milestone is a moment of pride for Coca-Cola and our partners," Roberto Mercadé, Coca-Cola South Pacific President, said. "A goal that started as aspiration in 2007 is today a reality and, from a local perspective, we are thrilled that Australia can contribute so significantly. Responsible water use today and tomorrow remains a key focus for us - our water stewardship work is unfinished and through partnerships like Project Catalyst, we look forward to continuing this important work."

The ultimate goal of Project Catalyst is to test and promote more sustainable sugar cane farming practices, reduce agricultural pollution and improve the quality of more than 150 billion liters of water flowing into the Great Barrier Reef. It is now in its seventh year and have already improved runoff and drainage water quality of an estimated 150 billion liters of water.

Additional funding for the initiative has also been confirmed. Coca-Cola Foundation has committed AUD$655,000 earmarked for 2017, while the Department of the Environment and Energy is setting aside a AUD$3 million grant for the project, among others.

Meanwhile, fellow soda company Pepsi Co. is also making a mark in water sustainability. According to a report from Water World, the company was able to reduce its operational water use per unit of production by 26 percent compared to 2006.  

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