It’s no secret that our bottling plants use water to make our beverages. And the water that we use is drawn from local water sources that we share with others because we make our beverages in the communities where we operate. So, in order to source that water responsibly and manage the risks for our business and communities, we need to have a clear understanding of where the water comes from, the availability of water supplies for a given community, current or future stress on the water supply, and how and where we’re giving the water back to a community.

Several years ago, we set a systemwide goal to ­put a formalized process in place to responsibly manage the risk of our water use across our Company and bottling partner owned operations. This process has moved from a goal to a standard operating procedure adopted by the

Coca-Cola system.

Across more than 200 countries, we have worked to assess the vulnerabilities of the quality and quantity of water sources for each of our system’s 863 bottling plants. Through these Source Vulnerability Assessments (we refer to them as SVAs), we’ve determined the available water supply and necessary steps for operating in and helping protect the water sources of the communities where our bottling plants are located.

We have a similar requirement in siting new plants or when we acquire a new business.  This due diligence process evaluates the availability and sustainability of water supplies for the intended manufacturing and surrounding community.

Once an SVA is complete, the plant then develops a Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP).  Most of our facilities have started to implement locally relevant SWPPs that detail specific risk-mitigation actions to address the vulnerabilities identified by the SVAs and deadlines for completing them. When developing and implementing a SWPP, in most locations we engage the community, local government, civil society and other businesses to look for ways to collaborate. We believe this fosters greater transparency, and enables us to work together to address vulnerabilities that may exist since concerns around water quantity and quality are shared by all who rely on a water source in a given area.

SVAs inventory the social, environmental and regulatory risks to the water sources supplying our facilities and the surrounding communities to inform SWPPs. Plans concentrate on shared challenges at the watershed level, from hydrological vulnerabilities to local water management, and often are the basis for our community water projects aimed at protecting and improving water sources.

Implementing SWPPs remains a priority for the Coca-Cola system. The balance of our bottling plants are set to begin implementation of their SWPPs in 2015.