Cousin to the increasingly ominous carbon footprint is the lesser known, lesser discussed water footprint. Water is, after all, a finite resource, and a majority of what covers the earth is undrinkable. (Remember that green water at the Rio Olympics?) An enormous amount of clean water is used by companies to produce soft drinks, or simply bottled by hotels and sold for forty bucks a pop. One of the biggest consumers of the earth’s dwindling liquid resources is reportedly striving to counterbalance its astronomical usage.
In a statement released on August 29, The Coca-Cola Company announced it had “replenished” all the water it processed in 2015–and then some. By their estimation, the Fortune 500 juggernaut returned approximately 192 billion liters of water to “nature and communities” or 115 percent of the H20 sourced for the brand’s beverages last year. In doing so, the global beverage giant claims to be the first Fortune 5o0 company to accomplish such an “aggressive” replenishing goal. This ambitious objective was reportedly achieved via processing its plants’ wastewater, planting trees to collect rain, and providing impoverished areas with clean water initiatives.
As population growth and climate change continue to raise questions about long-term sustainability, environmental advocacy groups have rallied food and drink companies to take much-needed steps toward more eco-friendly production methods. If global businesses don’t adopt environmentally sound practices, and soon, the United Nations predicts a startling 55 percent reduction in freshwater supplies by 2050.