The Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company has announced a $20 million project to conserve several major rivers worldwide, the Associated Press reports. The company also will revamp its bottling practices to reduce pollution and water use and make up for the seventy-six billion gallons of water it uses each year to produce bottled drinks.
Partnering with the World Wildlife Fund, the company will work to protect sections of major rivers in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, including Alabama's Cahaba River and the Rio Grande/Rio Brave river system in the United States, the Danube in Europe, the Yangtze and Mekong rivers in Asia, Lake Malawi in East Africa, and the Mesoamerican Reef in Latin America. In addition, the company will explore setting targets to improve water efficiency for its agricultural partners, including sugarcane producers, who use large amounts of water to grow their crops.
"Essentially the pledge is to return every...drop we use back to nature," said Coca-Cola CEO E. Neville Isdell. "If the communities around...our bottling plants do not flourish and are not sustainable, our business will not be sustainable in the future."