Corporate responsibility meets conservation leadership

Coca-Cola Foundation gives half a million dollars for wetland conservation

OAK HAMMOCK MARSH, MB, July 12, 2017 /CNW/ - One of the world's biggest brands is making a big commitment to conservation. The Coca-Cola Foundation has donated half a million dollars to Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) for wetland conservation. The reason is pure and simple: Improving Canada's freshwater.

Not only is water the essential ingredient in Coca-Cola's iconic beverage, it's also critical to the communities that the company serves. Water stewardship and replenishment is a key component of its sustainability efforts, which is why the Coca-Cola Foundation has teamed up with DUC to do its part to conserve this precious resource.

Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada president Bill Shultz visited DUC's national headquarters at Oak Hammock Marsh to officially announce the conservation partnership. 

"Water is an important part of our business and it's a vital resource for communities and nature. As a leader in water stewardship and sustainability we are committed to our goal of replenishing 100 per cent of the water used in our beverages," said Bill Schultz, president of Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada. "Ducks Unlimited Canada has been an important part of helping us achieve our water replenishment goal here in Canada. Through their conservation work around Lake Winnipeg, we are improving freshwater and contributing to a cleaner lake for all Canadians."

Canada's wetlands underpin nearly every aspect of water health. Wetlands are natural filters that trap and hold sediment and pollutants before they reach our lakes, rivers and streams. Wetlands also play a significant role in flood prevention by acting as sponges that capture, store and slowly release water over a long period of time. And by collecting precipitation wetlands also help recharge groundwater.

Funding from the Coca-Cola Foundation has been directed to two important areas of DUC's work in Manitoba. The first is focused on replenishing water through wetland conservation and restoration. Coca-Cola is working toward an ambitious goal of being water neutral in its Canadian bottling operations by 2020. This means it's striving to ensure that every drop of water required to produce its beverages is returned to nature through watershed conservation. Supporting DUC's wetland conservation work is one way Coca-Cola is delivering real results.

The second initiative Coca-Cola is supporting is DUC's Lake Winnipeg Watershed Program. Lake Winnipeg is the eleventh-largest freshwater lake on Earth. But its health has been declining in recent years. Harmful algal blooms are contaminating beaches, reducing water quality and damaging the province's tourism industry. Conserving and restoring wetlands within the surrounding watershed will help keep excess nutrients like phosphorus from flowing into the lake and creating toxic algae. 

To date, Coca-Cola's support has funded the conservation and restoration of 605 acres (245 hectares) of wetlands. This represents 403 million litres of water replenished. It also equates to a total of 5,400 pounds of phosphorus and 54,000 pounds of nitrogen removed per year.

"Despite the critical role wetlands play in the health of our water, they are among the most threatened ecosystems in the country," says Karla Guyn, chief executive officer for DUC. "Up to 80 acres are lost in settled areas of the country every day. Successful conservation requires participation and support from all who live and work on the landscape. When organizations like Coca-Cola step up, it helps us to make significant conservation gains that benefit Canadians."

DUC is proud to work alongside concerned partners like Coca-Cola to conserve wetlands that will help keep our water safe and healthy for generations to come. 

About Ducks Unlimited Canada: Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. Learn more at www.ducks.ca

About Coca-Cola in Canada: Coca-Cola in Canada operates in all ten provinces, and employs 6,200 people in more than 50 facilities, including six production facilities across Canada. It offers a wide variety of beverage brands, many of which come in no-calorie and low-calorie options. These beverages include sparkling soft drinks, still waters, juices and fruit beverages, sports drinks, energy drinks and ready-to-drink teas. Coca-Cola is proud to offer some of the most popular brands in Canada including Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Coca-Cola® Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Life®, Sprite®, Fanta®, NESTEA®, Gold Peak™, POWERADE®, Minute Maid®, DASANI®, smartwater®  and vitaminwater®. Coca-Cola in Canada is represented by Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada and Coca-Cola Ltd. For more information please visit www.coca-cola.ca or download the Coca-Cola Ambassador app.

On social media:
Twitter: @cocacolaco_ca
Facebook.com/CocaCola

SOURCE DUCKS UNLIMITED CANADA

For further information: Ashley Lewis, Communications Specialist, Ducks Unlimited Canada, 204-467-3252, a_lewis@ducks.ca; Shannon Denny, Director, Brand and Business Communications, Coca-Cola Ltd., +1 416-424-6373, sdenny@coca-cola.com

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