American Beverage Association Celebrates World Water Day

WASHINGTON, March 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As global leaders in responsible water management, the beverage industry commends World Water Day and efforts to improve water resources and sanitation throughout the world. Our industry remains committed to being a leader, particularly amongst industry, in responsible water management and ensuring a minimal environmental impact from the production of our many beverage products.

Our industry is providing this leadership collectively as well as through the individual efforts of our member companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, Nestle Waters North America and PepsiCo. Recently, the American Beverage Association became a founding member of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to efficient and sustainable water use in the country.

“We are proud to be a founding member of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, which advocates on behalf of water efficiency programs and water conservation,” said Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association. “The beverage industry understands the importance of strong, healthy water systems and the need to conserve natural resources. Importantly, our industry has taken upon itself a unique leadership role amongst all industries in helping nations develop strong water management strategies.”

The beverage industry supports water conservation and efficiency. In fact, we are minimal water users, and, while water is a key ingredient in all of our products, our manufacturing facilities use very little water compared to other industries. In fact, the beverage industry accounts for only about one gallon out of every 3,300 gallons withdrawn from ground or surface water sources.

“It is in everyone’s best interests, including our industry, to protect this precious resource of water in America and globally,” Neely said. “After all, it takes great water to make great beverages and meet the needs of people and communities.”

The following are some examples of ABA member company initiatives to protect water resources and reduce our environmental impact:

— Earlier this year, PepsiCo made a $2.5 million commitment to H2O Africa to help support clean water projects in various African countries. Further, the distribution of Ethos(TM) water is currently expanding into more than 40,000 convenience, grocery, mass and drug stores across the United States through the Pepsi-Cola bottling system. For each bottle of Ethos(TM) water sold, $0US.05 and $0C.10 at Starbucks company-operated stores in Canada is directed to the Ethos Water Fund. To date, the fund has generated a total of more than $6US.2 million in grant commitments to help support water, sanitation and hygiene education programs benefiting more than 420,000 people in Africa and Asia. For more information, visit http://www.pepsico.com/ or http://www.ethoswater.com/ .

— The Coca-Cola Company pledged to return the equivalent amount of water it uses in its beverages and in their production by reducing water used to produce beverages, recycling water throughout manufacturing and replenishing water in communities and nature. Also, Coca-Cola supports six watershed conservation efforts in North America, including projects along two iconic river basins– Rio Grande/Rio Bravo of the Chihuahua Desert and the Southeast Rivers and Streams eco-region. For more information, visit http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/ .

— Nestle Waters North America has five bottling plants “LEED Certified” by the U.S. Green Building Council, with four additional “green” plants built to this criteria, saving water and electricity, and minimizing waste. Nestle Waters also manages more than 14,000 acres around its spring sources, providing watershed protection, wildlife habitat and open space benefits. Through the visionary work of The Nature Conservancy, the company has helped protect more than 426,000 acres of natural lands and water systems across the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.nestle-watersna.com/ .

Also, despite the growing attention directed at the environmental impact of bottled water, the beverage industry works hard to continually reduce its environmental footprint from every beverage, including bottled water. The bottled water industry is dedicated to improving upon its environmental impact by reducing water and energy usage, making bottled water containers lighter, supporting recycling programs and incorporating more recycled materials into packaging. Bottled water containers also are just a small portion of the waste stream, making up only one-third of 1 percent of our nation’s waste. While we may be a small part of the problem, we’re working to be a big part of the solution by supporting comprehensive recycling. In fact, we are founding members, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, of the National Recycling Partnership dedicated to revitalizing recycling in America.

“Bottled water is a safe, convenient and, most importantly, fully recyclable product with a small and ever-reducing impact on the environment – facts that stand in contrast to the soundbite environmentalism often used by critics,” Neely said. “And consumers can easily do their part to help the environment by simply placing their 100 percent recyclable container in a recycle bin.”

Further, bottled water is not only convenient, portable and healthy – but safe and highly regulated. Purified bottled water also is much more than just tap water. In the case of purified bottled water from a municipal source, the beverage industry takes EPA-approved municipal water and employs a sophisticated multiple barrier treatment system that includes reverse osmosis, distillation and deionization or a combination. Spring water is typically treated with ozone disinfection, which is an effective barrier for impurities. Furthermore, spring water sources are carefully selected to begin with to protect against the potential of chemical, bacteriological and surface water contamination.

“The beverage industry is dedicated to providing consumers with safe, refreshing beverages that they enjoy, while being mindful of our impact on the environment at all times,” Neely said. “In light of World Water Day, we hope that others follow our lead in pursuing practices that conserve and protect our natural resources, such as reducing water usage and recycling. We all can do our part to have a lasting and positive impact on the environment.”

For more information on industry water management practices and initiatives, visit the new, interactive water section of the American Beverage Association Web site at http://www.ameribev.org/ .

The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.