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Coca-Cola Pledges to Work with WWF on Water Conservation
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The world's largest beverage producer Coca-Cola Company announced in Beijing on Tuesday a global partnership with the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), pledging US$20 million of financial support to help conserve and protect the world's freshwater resources.


"The centerpiece of the partnership will be seven of the world's most critical freshwater river basins, including China's Yangtze River," said E. Neville Isdell, Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Company at a press conference.


The Yangtze River program will include water resource management projects in the Minjiang River and Jiangling River, two tributaries in the upper reaches of Yangtze.


The company will also work with its franchise bottlers located along the river to find the most efficient solution for using water.


"The Coca-Cola Company is answering the call to help solve the global freshwater crisis through this bold partnership," said James Leape, Director General of WWF International.


The campaign was announced at WWF's annual meeting, being held this year in Beijing for the first time.


Coca-Cola Company said it will set specific water efficiency targets for global operations by 2008 and return all the water used for manufacturing processes to the environment at a level that supports aquatic life and agriculture.


In 2006, the company and its franchised bottlers used approximately 290billion liters of water for beverage production.


Of that amount, approximately 114 billion liters, or 40 percent, were contained in beverages sold in markets around the world, and another 176 billion liters were used in manufacturing processes such as rinsing, cleaning, heating and cooling.


Coca-Cola said it will further improve the efficient use of water in its manufacturing operations.


Currently, the production of one liter of Coca-Cola requires 2.54 liters of water, down from 3.1 liters five years ago.


"Our ultimate aim is to establish a truly water-sustainable business on a global scale," Isdell said.


Tuesday is the 35th World Environment Day.


The other river basins concerned by the project are Southeast Asia's Mekong, the Rio Grande of the Southwestern United States and Mexico; the rivers and streams of the southeastern United States, the rivers of the Mesoamerican Caribbean Reef, the East Africa basin of Lake Malawi and Central Europe's Danube.


These river basins span more than 20 countries and face different challenges.


(Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2007)

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