BusinessDay

Coca-Cola, WWF extend partnership to deliver on climate action targets

Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have announced the renewal of the global partnership for another three years, effective August 2021. The work will span all nine of Coca-Cola’s operating units and over 50 of the approximately 100 countries where WWF’s network operates.

The partnership will also build collective action by catalysing the investment of other stakeholders around the world, with the goal of engaging over 200 organisations on water stewardship to achieve the climate action targets.

Collaborative activities will consist of developing and implementing a global road map to help deliver on Coca-Cola’s strategies and goals, including its 2030 Water Security Strategy; World Without Waste goals and 2030 science-based climate target, while catalysing collective investment through connections with other partners, working groups and governments to achieve conservation outcomes.

“We are delighted to continue what has been an immensely fruitful partnership with WWF. Water stewardship has long been a key pillar for Coca-Cola and through this partnership, we have been able to achieve key targets in the past,” said Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, director, Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria, while commenting on the renewal.

According to Onyemelukwe, these successful conservation projects will help inspire peers and new leaders to replicate, build upon and scale ongoing work. She posits that for more than a decade, Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have partnered to help ensure healthy, thriving freshwater basins around the world.

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“With the current climate and water access situation in Nigeria and across the world, this renewal could not have been timelier. We take responsibility for people and the environment within which we operate and with this partnership, we will be scaling up efforts to help these vulnerable communities build resilience to these key stress areas,” Onyemelukwe said.

She said the water stewardship work began in 11 freshwater basins and expanded to programs in 50 countries, including Nigeria. However, the groundbreaking partnership, which has become a best practice for corporate and non-profit collaborations, has driven collective action with governments, local communities and other businesses to ensure these basins are protected into the future.

Onyemelukwe states further that the partnership work extends beyond water to improving environmental performance across Coca-Cola’s supply chain, including reducing emissions and helping the company reimagine how agricultural ingredients are sourced and plastic packaging is recycled.

Bea Perez, the senior vice president and chief communications, sustainability and strategic partnerships officer, The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC), said the partners are working together to help vulnerable communities build resilience to climate change and water stresses.

“Our partnership with WWF has made meaningful progress in addressing complex issues and challenges in our world, focused primarily on water in our communities. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to river basins where we work and see the positive outcomes of this journey for local communities and our business,” said Perez.

Carter Roberts, President/CEO, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said WWF works with private sector to reduce footprints and reach scale in tackling the problems of water scarcity, climate change and loss of nature.

According to Roberts, the past 14 years of partnership with The Coca-Cola Company has spanned over 50 countries. “Since the dual crises of climate change and nature loss loom larger than ever, we’re raising ambition in the next phase of our partnership—to build resilient communities and ecosystems that can meet the challenges ahead. There’s no time to waste,” said Roberts.