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Question: question was water neutrality a plausible strategy for cocacola and...

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QUESTION: Was ‘water neutrality’ a plausible strategy for Coca-Cola, and why?

In 2000, Coca-Cola had found itself in quite a predicament. Their water needs were extreme, governments and different agencies were concerned about environmental and population impacts, but production could not stop since they were the largest beverage distributer in the world. With this weight on their back, in 2007 they decided to announce that they will strive to reach the goal of becoming water neutrality by 2020. “During the past five years, the company began developing a more holistic look at its water strategy because of three issues: it began acquiring water brands; communities in India protested a Coca-Cola bottler there because of appropriation and pollution issues; it began reporting water issues as a material risk to investors.” (GreenBiz Editors, 2008) Though this goal seemed unreachable, Coca-Cola knew that this was an issue with stakeholders, and they had to make sure their brand was not tarnished. “The company created a survey for its plants and bottlers to gather information on efficiency, compliance, watershed, supply reliability, supply economics and social and competitive contextual information.” (GreenBiz Editors, 2008)

Though some thought that it was an implausible strategy, in 2017, Coca-Cola announced that they had reached water neutrality 5 years earlier than predicted in 2015. “In 2017, the Coca-Cola system (the Company and our bottling partners), continued to achieve our goal to replenish 100 percent of the water we use in our finished beverages back to communities and nature by 2020, a goal we first met five years early in 2015. Projects implemented by the end of 2017 are replenishing an estimated 248 billion liters per year through community and watershed projects globally, as estimated with the help of our many reputable partner organizations using peer reviewed scientific and technical methods.” (The Coca-Cola Company, 2018) Not only had they replenished their standard operation water usage, they were able to replenish 65 billion gallons of water annually. After changes in the bottling and manufacturing process were made, they were able to remain true to their promise, and keep their word.

Now-a-days, companies strive to reach carbon neutrality. One of my previous employers, Biogen strived to eliminate their carbon footprint. “Biogen announced today that it has achieved carbon neutrality, a milestone reached through a multi-year initiative to reduce its own emissions and by investing in environmental projects to offset the remaining carbon associated with its business, including emissions from suppliers and employee commuting and business travel.” (Biogen, 2015) Though this might not seem like it is a big deal, companies have to think about their image throughout the business world.

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