Coca-Cola Continues to Make Strides on Water, Recycling

Since 2002, when the company first shared its water usage data with the public, Coca-Cola has improved its water-efficiency by just over 20 percent, to the point where it now uses 2.47 liters of water to make a liter of one of its beverages. In the past year, the number continued to drop, with the company reporting a 2 percent improvement over last year's report.

That is among the top green highlights in the 2007/2008 Coca-Cola Sustainability Review, which the company released yesterday through www.sustainability.thecoca-colacompany.com . Along those environmental lines, the report also looks at performance in total water use, energy use, wastewater treatment, packaging and recycling.

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Water may be the most high-impact area of the company's operations, but Coca-Cola also saw some progress on what it uses to deliver those water-based goods around the globe. In addition to using recyclable and/or refillable materials in 98 percent of its sales over the past year,  the company invested $60 million in what it says is the world's largest bottle-to-bottle recycling plant. The plant, located in Spartanburg, S.C., will have the ability to recycle two billion PET bottles into new bottles per year.

On the energy-use front, Coke is seeing similar improvements to its water ratio: since 2002, the company has improved its energy-use ratio by 19 percent; between 2006 and 2007/2008 it dropped an addition 4 percent. The company now uses .46 megajoules per liter of product. And although its overall volume of sales increased 6 percent in the past year, its total energy use only climbed 2 percent.

Other projects that are working to make Coke greener are plans to deploy 100,000 hydrofluorocarbon-free coolers, coolers which will also be about 35 percent more energy efficient than its current models. The company is also working to reduce the amount of materials used in its bottlesand cans, and deployed a small fleet of electric vehicles to deliver its products in Uruguay.

Also this year, Coca-Cola joined the CEO Water Mandate, calling for urgent action to address a growing water crisis around the world.

The full report is available for download from www.sustainability.thecoca-colacompany.com .

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