Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP), one of America’s largest beverage companies, has declared their goal to have a net positive water impact by 2050. The goal announced at the end of March of this year would mean the company would be outputting more clean water than they are using for production and manufacturing.
As part of the newfound effort, KDP has joined the Water Resilience Coalition (WRC) – a group of C-level executives who are joining together to try and expand the amount of clean water around the world, particularly in areas that are already what they call “water-stressed,” or running up against a shortage of freshwater within the next decade.
The initiative is made up of several notable American corporations, including Cargill, Dow Chemicals, Starbucks, DuPont, and Coca-Cola.
As environmental impacts are quickly actualizing and rendering notable changes (like freshwater availability), American consumers may wonder what major companies are doing to combat the issues. While some advocates suggest consumers completely turn away from products that are not historically sustainable by nature, collaboration through institutions like the WRC suggests a middle ground where consumers can feel good about the normal items they pick up at the store, knowing the corporations are working behind the scenes to make the world a cleaner place.
WRC functions on the United Nations Global Compact and predicts a 56% decrease in accessibility to clean water within the next ten years due to a changing climate and the lack of unified corporate initiatives. Currently, one in nine people worldwide does not have access to clean water.
It is no coincidence that beverage companies invest their bandwidth into the initiative. As producers of some of the world’s leading consumer drinks, these large corporations rely heavily on the global availability of potable water for manufacturing. However, with the climate crisis increasing in urgency and an increasingly actualized human impact, the goals set by KDP and other giants alike represent a meaningful shift in corporate social responsibility.
CEO and chairman of Keurig Dr. Pepper Bob Gamgort commented on the company’s new involvement in a statement, saying the company has “a unique opportunity to develop and support leading solutions to local and global water challenges.”
He went on to reiterate KDP’s excitement about joining WRC, and its “collective action [and] work [it has] underway to build healthy communities resilient to climate change.”
Net-positive water impact involves the “replenishment” of used water, allowing for it to be provided back to ecosystems or for commercial use with the intention of leaving the environment in a better condition than the company found it. Although the long-term goals will actualize by 2050, a number of the components of the initiative will take place over the next decade and a half. Some of the newly established programs are extensions of already-existing corporate responsibility policies. These include:
- A 100% water replenishment rate in Keurig Dr. Pepper’s most water-stressed operational locations by 2030 (previously, a lower bar for replenishment had been announced with an earlier goal; with the new rate of 100%, the timeline has been extended);
- A 20% improvement in weather efficiency by 2025 across the company;
- Assistance and investment in 250,000 acres of regenerative agriculture by 2030 – half of the land employed for the company’s leading climate-sensitive crops.
In addition to the plan’s overarching goals, Keurig Dr. Pepper has also committed to local partnerships in production area locales – a nod to the emerging reality that certain regions of the United States face varying challenges that require innovative solutions.
The formation of local coalitions alongside KDP’s work in the Water Resilience Coalition includes efforts with the California Water Action Collaborative, Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable, and the Texas Water Action Collaborative – where the company is headquartered.
The company has received substantial positive media attention for the initiative from conservation and Environmental, Social and Governance outlets.