Stockholm World Water Week reflections

By Therese Noorlander, Sustainability Director Europe at The Coca-Cola Company


The theme for this year’s Stockholm World Water Week was ‘Water for Society: Including all’.

It’s often said that water is nature’s most precious resource, but it’s also a shared resource, essential for our business and also to our consumers and the communities they live in. Water is the blue thread that runs through society and binds together so many essential elements of life. Indeed, without water there is no life.

That’s why we return more water to nature and communities than we use in our finished products. And we work together with capable partners to make sure people have access to water for sanitation.

Although adequate, clean freshwater is a basic human right, billions still lack basic access to clean water and sanitation. And as global temperatures rise, we can expect more water-related threats to biodiversity, through droughts, storms and wildfires.

That’s why we at Coca-Cola support so many local projects around the world to boost access to safe drinking water. Like this local project in Gaza and our ground-breaking programme in Africa – RAIN – that has supported water, sanitation and hygiene programmes in more than 2,000 communities across 41 countries.

We also do this important work in Europe. At World Water Week in Stockholm, I talked about our 10-year-long partnership with the Global Water Partnership Mediterranean (GWP-Med) and how it’s helping to build a more water-secure future for over 300,000 people in Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Italy.

As well as highlighting this important work, our Coca-Cola team also used World Water Week to help drive new partnerships and conversations between the many different players whose collaboration is key to addressing the world’s water challenges. For example, we hosted a well-attended stakeholder roundtable and reception focused on our efforts to improve community access to life-saving supplies of water. I’m always impressed that this vital work has so far helped 8.6 million people.

That wasn’t all – our cross-functional team also took part in many panels and events, engaging with dozens of stakeholders and international organizations to listen and learn. It was great to see these players debating the innovations that can drive greater water accessibility in society, including new models for commercial finance, the use of natural solutions in water projects and linking the agendas around water and climate change.

After five inspiring days of talking about water and listening to experts in the field I was again reminded of the incredible impact water has on people, communities, biodiversity, agriculture, societies and economies. And next to great partners, experts and speakers I was also reminded of the impressive knowledge my colleagues have. It will help us continue to work on water in a sustainable way. What a great week!