Protests at Coca Cola Sponsorship of World Water Forum
Coca Cola's sponsorship of the upcoming World Water Forum, the global
summit aiming to improve access to freshwater worldwide, is out of
line with the event's stated objective say Indian campaigners.
The fourth World Water Forum (Mexico City, March 16-22) aims to bring
together politicians, water management professionals and NGOs to aid
cooperation for "better living standards for people all over the world
and a more responsible social behaviour towards water issues in-line
with the pursuit of sustainable development."
The Indian Resource Centre NGO says that Coca Cola is sponsoring the
event as a "publicity manoeuvre" to whitewash over its record of wasteful
water use and pollution.
India feels the effects of the drinks giant's wasteful and polluting
behaviour particularly strongly, says Amit Sirvastava of the Indian
"Coca-Cola's water use ratio in India is 4 to 1 - that is, 75% of
the freshwater it extracts is turned into wastewater. The company
has indiscriminately discharged its wastewater into the surrounding
fields, severely polluting the scarce remaining groundwater as well
Globally, the company's water use ratio is 2.7 to 1 on average - meaning
63% of the water it takes from the ground is discharged as waste,
Last year Indian courts ordered Coca Cola to close one of its plants,
which they said polluted local water resources.
The company has also been accused of causing water shortages through
its use of almost 300 billion litres of water a year.
Coca Cola defends its environmental record, saying that water is its
"lifeblood" and that it aims to "invest in the sustainability of this
critical resource." It says it is the "most efficient industrial water
user among peer companies."
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