Working on water stewardship at Coca-Cola is my job. So, I view meeting our water stewardship goals important on a professional level. And, I am proud of our replenish numbers released today—our Company and bottling partners have replenished 108.5 billion liters of water back to communities and nature to date—that’s 68 percent of our 2013 sales volume.
But, I also believe in our water stewardship initiatives from a personal level, because what really makes me proud is what our work means for people, especially for women and girls, a story too often left untold.

Every day, many women and girls in developing countries are tasked with retrieving water to share with their families for drinking, personal hygiene, cooking and cleaning. In fact, according to the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, they must walk as much as six miles every day to retrieve water. The journey and the quality of water can both be dangerous, and keeps women and girls from attending school and having jobs.

2014 Water Report

Through our 509 community water projects in more than 100 countries, which contribute to our replenish achievement, we are working toward objectives such as providing or improving access to safe water and sanitation, protecting watersheds, supporting water conservation, and raising awareness on critical local water issues.

In one of the poorest suburbs of Burkina Faso’s capital city, Ouagadougou, for example, The Coca-Cola Foundation is partnering with WaterAid, along with the local community and water utility, to make safe drinking water a reality for the local people. Partners are extending existing water pipelines and installing new water points that provide residents with clean, treated drinking water.

In addition to helping residents reduce the risk of contracting waterborne diseases, this project will also reduce the staggering amount of time that women and girls spend walking to get water each day, and open up the possibility for them to instead use the time to attend school, earn an income, and be in the home with their children and families. It’s a great project and one of many in our Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), which aims to provide sustained safe water access to 2 million people in Africa by 2015.

As you read about our replenish achievement, know that there’s a lot of meaning behind that number—there’s health and there’s empowerment—both critical to helping create stronger, happier communities. From a professional and personal standpoint, the 68 percent is rewarding.

Now, onward to 100 percent!

Joe Rozza

Joe Rozza is Global Water Resource Sustainability Manager at The Coca-Cola Company.