The Coca‑Cola Company and USDA Renew Pioneering Partnership to Restore Forests, Grasslands and Watersheds
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The Coca‑Cola Company and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have collaborated over the last decade to restore watersheds on National Forest system lands, replenishing 2.4 billion liters of water to communities and nature through 25 projects across nine states. The partners signed a memorandum of understanding renewing their collaboration to restore and improve watersheds on national forests and grasslands for another five years.
More than 60 million Americans get their drinking water from national forests and grasslands. In the partnership’s next chapter, the U.S. Forest Service and Coca‑Cola will continue to promote the health and resiliency of forested watersheds by reducing the impacts of severe wildfires and climate change on water resources.
“Water stewardship has long been a business imperative at The Coca‑Cola Company. We are committed to being responsible stewards of this vital resource by accelerating our efforts to address water stress, protect local water resources and build community climate resilience,” said Jennifer Mann, President, Coca‑Cola North America. “This renewed partnership will place a greater priority on benefitting historically underserved communities. It also continues to help us make progress toward our goal to return a cumulative 2 trillion liters of water to nature and communities globally between 2021 and 2030.”
Since 2012, the pioneering public-private partnership has restored nearly 900 acres of watersheds in major metro areas like Los Angeles and Denver; raised the water table in high mountain meadows to ensure creeks and tributaries feeding the Rio Grande and Colorado River remain stable and healthy; created jobs in forestry management through grant programs; and raised awareness of the importance of water conservation through marketing programs.
The Coca‑Cola Company and The Coca‑Cola Foundation have contributed more than $2.6 million to the partnership, to date. The company, Foundation and Swire Coca‑Cola have contributed nearly $900,000 of funding towards watershed restoration projects being implemented in 2023 throughout Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.\
“Our national forests and grasslands face tremendous threats from wildfires, invasive species, pests and extended drought, all made worse by climate change,” said Deputy U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Xochitl Torres-Small. “To meet challenges at this scale, we need all the help we can get. Thanks to our partners, we are doing more than any one of us can do alone, and I’m confident this agreement will continue to build on ten years of cooperative success.”
The National Forest Foundation, a congressionally chartered nonprofit with the mission of bringing people together to restore and enhance national forests, has coordinated much of this work by taping the collective expertise of stakeholders to address increasing stress on water resources. Dozens of local communities and hundreds of volunteers have worked together on water resource management education and stewardship activities.
“Innovative partnerships like this one are vital for making sure streams and rivers retain their ability to provide for nature and people,” said Marcus Selig, Chief Conservation Officer, National Forest Foundation. “Support from The Coca‑Cola Company has allowed us to achieve so much on the ground success already, with this renewed commitment we look forward to accomplishing more.”
In 2015, Coca‑Cola became the first Fortune 500 company to replenish all water used in its global beverage production—five years ahead of plan—and has done so every year since, shifting its focus toward making a greater impact on people and ecosystems. The company’s 2030 Water Security Strategy accelerates actions needed to increase water security where it operates, sources ingredients and touches lives with a focus on priority watersheds. In the United States, Coca‑Cola works with a variety of partners on water restoration projects-including the U.S. Forest Service, The National Forest Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, American Forests and World Wildlife Fund.