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Working with Coca-Cola to Improve the Sustainability of Agricultural Ingredients


Seventy percent of the world's water is used for agriculture


The Coca-Cola Company is a major purchaser of crops such as sugarcane, citrus and coffee –ingredients used in the company's products, and major users of water. Though the company does not have direct control over farm practices, its purchasing power can influence the entire industry.

Goal: Promote sustainable agriculture across Coca-Cola’s supply chain, focusing on sugarcane, oranges and corn.

Results: Together, WWF and Coca-Cola have piloted projects on sustainable sugarcane cultivation in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, and Honduras, working with sugarcane farmers to align their practices with the Bonsucro Standard.

In June 2011, a sugar mill in São Paulo, Brazil, became the first to be certified under the Bonsucro standard, and the Coca-Cola system was the first buyer of the mill’s certified sugar. Since then, 16 sugarcane mills have been certified in Brazil. By the end of 2011, Bonsucro-certified mills had produced approximately 1.6 million tons of sugar.

In Australia, WWF and Coca-Cola continue to work with sugarcane growers to improve their farming practices. To date, growers have improved the water quality of more than 26 billion gallons of runoff and drainage water. These efforts have reduced over 183 metric of fertilizer and herbicide run-off from polluting the Great Barrier Reef.

Like sugarcane, the production of oranges and corn can have large impacts on freshwater ecosystems. During 2012, the partnership team worked with agricultural ingredient suppliers to map the sustainability initiatives underway with Coca-Cola's juice suppliers. Based on this research, the team is now focusing on developing work with orange growers in Florida to address the most pressing sustainability issues facing the industry. The partnership also promoted sustainable corn production and better management practices through the creation and continuation of pilot projects in the United States and China.

Along with addressing the sustainability of Coca-Cola’s ingredient supply chain, the partnership is assessing the sustainability of the company’s sourcing of raw materials used for packaging, including paper-based packaging and bioplastics. During 2012, Coca-Cola and WWF completed a source risk assessment of selected paper packaging suppliers, focusing on high-risk regions. By identifying the risks and opportunities in the company’s paper packaging supplier base, the partners aim to phase out unwanted sources and increase the amount of credibly certified and recycled paper-based packaging sources.