What happens in the Mekong river basin, for instance, affects business decisions in Atlanta, and vice versa. Those decisions impact how our more than 500 brands and 3,500 beverage products get into the hands of consumers worldwide. The turn of the millennium brought a much greater awareness of the plight of water. While water is the basis of life and a renewable
resource, it faces daunting challenges, including pollution, improper management, over–allocation in many places, uneven distribution, and non–universal access to a clean, safe supply for many people who are the most in need. These challenges are exacerbated by global population growth, climate change and the dramatic increase in global development.
As a company that includes six operating groups and 300 independent bottling partners with
more than 850 plants across 200 countries, with varying cultural norms and political systems,
the company has experienced a diverse array of water challenges. In 2003, it was among the first corporations to disclose to shareowners that water quality and quantity were a material risk
to its business; a unique risk given the company’s size, well–recognized brands, geographic scope, non–diversification, and, perhaps most critically, its local business model.