Coca-Cola Africa has directed it’s focus on Africa’s water security by making it a priority to improve reliable access to safe water for millions of Africans under its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN).
The Replenish Africa Initiative has seen over 3 million Africans have improved access to safe water.
Through collaborative action with more than 140 partners, the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) programme is now one of the biggest public private partnerships focused on water in Africa, operating in over 2,750 communities across 41 African countries.
In addition to benefitting 3 million people across Africa, RAIN has economically empowered 23,000 youth and women and replenished nearly 9 billion litres of water to communities and nature annually.
“No one company or organisation can solve the world’s water issues alone,” explains Dorcas Onyango, Head of Sustainability for Coca-Cola Southern & East Africa. “But through innovative partnerships that leverage the corporate ability to develop employment and entrepreneurship opportunities related to water access and watershed protection, we can sustainably protect and manage this vital resource.”
For example, in Ghana, Malawi and Mali, the RAIN-supported CARE Water Smart Agricultural project is empowering women smallholder farmers through improved agricultural practices. At least 40,000 women will benefit from increased production and improved food and water security for themselves and their families.
In South Africa, The Coca-Cola Company partnered with The Nature Conservancy and the World Wide Fund for Nature, to remove invasive alien plants in critical watersheds and improve management of water resources, including one of the four watersheds that supports Cape Town. The projects will also create economic opportunities and skills transfer for local communities.
“Because water is at the heart of our business, we look at it from an ecological, social, and economic perspective,” says Onyango. “In addition to being our primary ingredient, water is central to our manufacturing processes and is necessary to grow the agricultural ingredients on which we rely. Safe, accessible water is also essential to the health of communities in which we operate, critical to ecosystems and indispensable for economic prosperity.”
The Coca-Cola Company’s water stewardship strategy focuses on addressing water challenges and risks across Africa by focusing on five key areas: partnership, economic empowerment, watershed protection, strengthening water utilities, and water efficiencies within its operations.
“We have also made strides in improving our water-use ratio over the past ten years,” says Onyango. “Our largest bottling partner in Africa, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa now only uses 1.98 litres of water for 1 litre of finished beverage, compared to 2.7 litres in 2004. However, we have much more to do, particularly as water demand and climatic challenges add pressure to managing this precious resource. We need collective thinking and collaboration.”
The Coca-Cola Company’s 2030 global water strategy is geared towards addressing the global water crisis, while continuing to sustainably grow its business.
Says Onyango: “If we are to address the global water crisis bold action is required both internally, to improve our water-use efficiency and sourcing, and externally, to contribute to water security for all.”