Issue: Environmental stewardship
- 6.4 – Increase water-use efficiency to address water scarcity
- 6.6 – Protect and restore water-related ecosystems
We attended the CCHBC Stakeholder Forum in Athens and visited the company’s manufacturing ‘Megaplant’. The forum was organised by Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company and The Coca-Cola Company. We were the only investor amongst key stakeholders in the Central and Eastern European Region. The theme was water stewardship, primarily the implementation of strategies to manage water-related risks and opportunities and, in turn, promote the long-term sustainability of the business. With 89-99% of soft drinks‘ content being water and having a water-intensive agricultural supply chain, CCHBC is exposed to significant water-related risks.
We shared recommendations with representatives from the two companies, including business unit leaders and senior management. We called for the analysis and disclosure of the full water footprint of key products, incorporation of the true value of water into business planning, and development and implementation of context-based water targets. We also encouraged the company to leverage its brand power and distribution network to educate consumers, and work with suppliers further to improve water management practices across the value chain. We visited the Schimateri plant, the largest Greek beverage manufacturing plant, which distributes over 400m litres of beverages per year and over 500m preform bottles. The site received the Gold Certification for responsible water management from the European Water Stewardship (EWS) organisation. We welcomed this achievement and encouraged management to put manufacturing sites in areas of high water risk through the same certification process. CCHBC also reported on a successful community initiative in Challawa, Nigeria, where it has provided a million people with access to water near its bottling plant, trained local managers on water and is helping the community control water quality.
The forum and site visit were very encouraging. CCHBC is keen to improve its water stewardship practices and recognises it must involve key stakeholders. It has since made some laudable commitments, including setting context-based water targets, accelerating innovation in re-using wastewater, and further leveraging its partnership network to promote water management. This is a strong start, but there is ample room for improvement. We would like to see the company increase efforts to understand and manage water issues in its agricultural supply chains and implement measures to increase the resilience of manufacturing sites in areas of high water-related risks. More needs to be done to assess the possible impacts of climate change on water resources and the business in general. We will follow progress in these areas and continue our engagement going forward.