Access to fresh water is becoming an increasingly essential issue for societies worldwide. As the article in the first url below notes, for example:
"Water use is growing at twice the pace of population growth. By 2025, two-thirds of the world population will be experiencing water 'stress conditions.' [And] One in nine people lacks access to improved sources of drinking water and one in three lacks improved sources of water sanitation. This causes around 3.5 million deaths each year."
Because supplies of fresh water are an issue for societies, that makes it a particularly sensitive topic for any company that uses large amounts of water. As the article in the second url below notes, Coca-Cola has come under particular attention for the massive amounts of water it uses to make its signature product:
"In 2012, Coke sold more than 1.8 billion servings a day – one for every four people on earth. … Over 79 billion gallons of water are required annually to dilute Coke syrup, and an additional eight trillion gallons are needed for other aspects of production, including the manufacturing of bottles. In 2012, Coke used more water than close to a quarter of the world's population."
Not only is Coca-Cola increasing our healthcare costs, therefore, it is also reducing our access to something that is essential for life. In other words, if we continue to consume water at current rates, at some point we will have to choose between fresh drinking water and Coca-Cola (and any of the other water intensive products we rely on every day, such as cotton, for example). The smart, progressive companies have already begun to consider ways by which they can reduce their reliance on fresh water.
David Chandler & Bill Werther
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Stakeholders, Globalization, and Sustainable Value Creation (3e)
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
Strategic CSR Simulation: http://www.strategiccsrsim.com/
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/
Water's a Big Deal, but How's an Investor to Respond?
By Garvin Jabusch
March 3, 2015
By Beth Macy
January 4, 2015
The New York Times Book Review
Late Edition – Final