Demand on the amount of freshwater around us is increasing and climate change is impacting traditional rainfall patterns.
As the world’s population grows, the demands being placed on freshwater are rising, rapidly. Currently the Republic of Belarus is fairly well supplied with water resources. The available natural water resources are quite sufficient for meeting the current and future needs for water. But the quality of water, both surface and underground in the country suffers from chemical stress from the discharge of untreated wastewater, from pollutants washed off agricultural and urban land as well as motor transport, landfills and pollutant fallout. So the majority of rivers in Belarus have been classified as moderately polluted.
Our ability to grow is directly related to the availability and quality of local water resources. As a result, we place a major focus on our water stewardship efforts, and an integrated approach to this critical resource:
- Improving our water efficiency: we work hard to reduce the amount of water needed to produce our beverages
- Working in partnerships: to protect local watersheds and promote sustainable water management, we work in a growing number of partnerships
Improving our water efficiency
In our bottling plant, we closely monitor our water sources, minimising the amount of water we withdraw. By incorporating water saving technologies on our production lines, we have managed to improve the efficiency with which we use water. For example, we have implemented water recycling technology for bottle rinsing, and automatic water consumption control at production equipment and processes.
Our bottling plant regularly conducts risk assessments. We study the quantity and quality of local water supplies, as well as environmental, regulatory and other concerns. Based on these assessments, we develop action plans to mitigate risks.
Although we have significantly improved our efficiency, we cannot reduce the amount of water in our beverages. As we produce greater volume of beverages, we will use more water.
It is therefore increasingly important to further improve water efficiency. We therefore invest in emerging technologies.
We ensure that all water returned to the natural environment is treated to a level that supports fish life. Despite the fact that our bottling plant in Belarus utilises the municipal water treatment resources additionally we have on-site wastewater treatment plant.
Working in partnership
To address water-related issues, we work in a growing number of partnerships. In Belarus in partnership with local non-governmental organization APB Birdlife Belarus, we work on:
“Let’s save Yelnya together!” project.
Yelnya is one of the biggest peat bogs in Europe. Attempts to reclaim it for agriculture in the first half of the 20th century proved counter-productive. As the bog became drier, severe fires became a common occurrence and hurled huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Just a single hectare of dry peatland annually produces 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide (and 30 times more during fire). The worst of these fires in 2002 destroyed more than 70 percent of the entire region.
Yet a restored Yelnya can act as a giant sink and absorb thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is a crucial factor in combating global warming.
At an international level, The Green Danube is the most longstanding partnership of Coca-Cola Hellenic. Together with the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, we conduct conservation and awareness-raising activities in 10 countries lying in the river basin. These include annual Danube Day celebrations, which see the participation of tens/hundreds of thousands of people. Along with the Green Danube partnership Coca-Cola Hellenic is a founding signatory of the CEO Water Mandate of the UN Global Compact.
This initiative aims to address water sustainability issues in operations, supply chains and communities and to work with government and NGOs to shape public policy. To better understand water use in our supply chain, Coca-Cola Hellenic is also working with the Water Footprint Network.
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