Best Environmental Stewardship: Coca-Cola De Ecuador S.A.
Coca-Cola De Ecuador S.A.: Preserving the Environment and Strengthening Local Communities
Coca Cola De Ecuador S.A. has invested in educational programs that will help Ecuadorian communities combat and adapt to climate change and has adjusted business practices to better steward the environment.
Research shows that the effects of climate change will be even more pronounced in high altitude mountain ranges. Temperature increases in the Andes will reduce the ice cover and glacial run-off.
Run-off from the tropical glaciers plays a critical role in the high-altitude mountain ecosystems, and its reduction will have enduring and severe implications for local environments and economies. Climate change and the consequent retreat of glaciers will affect the water supplies of the big cities in countries such as Ecuador and all of the sensitive high-altitude eco-systems, including the Andean highlands.
For these reasons, Coca-Cola System in Ecuador has worked with CARE Ecuador to address the phenomenon of shrinking glaciers and to support the preservation of the micro-watershed of Papallacta with a climate change adaptation program.
At Coca-Cola, we aim to replenish the amount of local water used in our finished beverages by 2020. To achieve this goal, we are intensely involved in water stewardship across our system and in the communities where we operate.
We have a special interest in protecting the water sources that sustain local communities, because the hosts of our bottling plants are also our consumer base. In addition to the ecological and ethical imperatives that drive our water stewardship, we have a vested business interest in preserving and improving local water sources.
What Coca-Cola De Ecuador S.A. Has Accomplished
Our purpose in Ecuador is to strengthen the resilience of Papallacta, Jamanaco, and El Tambo, their ecosystems and local economies, as they cope with the consequences of the rapid glacier melting in the tropical Andes.
Our program’s main activities include working to increase vegetation in the micro-watersheds by reforesting them with native species, introducing agro-forestry management systems, improving food security in the local communities, raising awareness about the impacts of the glacier melt and climate change, and promoting a culture of responsible water use.
Since 2009, this project has achieved significant results with the support of Coca-Cola System in Ecuador, The Coca-Cola Foundation Atlanta, and CARE Ecuador. About 64,000 seedlings were grown in forest nurseries, and more than 51,000 native plants were planted. One hundred and fifty hectares were covered with new, native tree plantations using agro-forestry techniques, and 100 agro-ecological gardens were created.
In Jamanco, Papallacta, and El Tambo, 120 families were direct beneficiaries, and 163 families were indirect beneficiaries. Ninety-seven local women lead the agro-ecological vegetable gardens and have improved their family incomes.
More than 35 workshops and forums were held to raise awareness among the people in the Papallacta micro-watershed in Canton Quijos. The program covered the impacts of the glacier melt, climate change, and helped promote a culture of responsible water use. Local schools and families from Papallacta participated in the events.
Why This Project Makes Sense
This program generated positive environmental and social impacts thanks to the collaboration of our partners with local government and community leaders. The local communities also took ownership of water conversation by implementing sustainable practices that will help to preserve local environments.
The beneficiaries of the agro-ecological gardens, especially women, generated a new source of income through the consumption and sale of the products of their mini-farms. In this way, the program also strengthened gender equity in local communities, improving their quality of life and reducing their economic, social, and environmental vulnerability.