PepsiCo Foundation Expands Commitment to Water.org With Largest Grant Ever

Water.org, an international NGO co-founded by Gary White and actor Matt Damon in 2009, has announced an $8 million grant from the PepsiCo Foundation to improve access to clean water in India.

The largest grant ever awarded by the foundation will be used to scale the WaterCredit initiative, a market-driven effort that aims to provide microloans to some 800,000 people in India by 2016 for water and sanitation improvement projects ranging from new water taps in homes to the installation of working toilets.

Over the past decade, PepsiCo and other beverage-makers have been criticized for depleting and polluting water supplies in developing countries like India, the Associated Press reports. While the companies deny the validity of such claims, they have changed their approach to water issues. Since 2005, for example, PepsiCo has pledged nearly $34 million to address water and sanitation issues and has made water stewardship a cornerstone of its Performance With Purpose initiative, which aims "to deliver sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and the planet."

"It's been an incredible journey with PepsiCo over the past several years. Working with a partner that is so committed to overcoming the global water crisis through innovative approaches such as WaterCredit is refreshing," said Water.org CEO Gary White. "PepsiCo, in what I believe captures the spirit of their own visionary culture, was willing to place an early bet on us and the WaterCredit model. That bet has resulted in incredible impact to date. Their support has been instrumental to not only Water.org but to the sector at-large in demonstrating a potentially game-changing approach to overcoming the global water crisis as we know it."