Sep 28, 2012

Coca-Cola Partnership to Bring Clean Water to Communities in Need

Partnership with DEKA R&D will provide water purification systems to rural parts of Latin America and Africa

The Coca-Cola Company Slingshot Water Purification  DEKA R&D IDB MIF Africare

To further advance the Coca-Cola Co.’s goal to replenish 100% of the water used in its beverages and their production by 2020 and support sustainable communities, the company announced a long-term global clean water partnership with DEKA R&D to bring DEKA President Dean Kamen’s “Slingshot” technology to communities where potable water access is limited. The company and DEKA R&D also will partner with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group and Africare to bring the technology to communities in need in rural parts of Latin America and Africa, respectively.

The Slingshot water purification system uses a vapor compression distillation system that runs on low levels of electricity. The system boils and evaporates any dirty water source — river water, ocean water and even raw sewage — and then allows the pure water to condense and be collected. One unit can purify up to 300,000 liters of water each year — enough daily drinking water for roughly 300 people — producing 10 gal of clean water per hour while consuming less than 1 kW of electricity, which is less than the amount of power needed to run a standard handheld hair dryer. The unit can be plugged into the local grid or can be powered by other locally available and renewable power sources such as solar cells, batteries and electric generators.

In 2013, the intent of the partnership is to deliver millions of liters of clean drinking water to schools, health clinics and community centers in rural regions of countries within Africa and Latin America, which have already been identified as the areas of focus for the Slingshot placements next year. Longer term, the Coca-Cola and DEKA will form additional partnerships and expand the effort to also install thousands of units to be operated and maintained annually in communities in India, the Middle East and Asia, in addition to Africa and Latin America. When fully scaled, the partnership is expected to add more than half a billion liters of clean drinking water per year to the global water supply.

“Water is becoming a scarce, valuable commodity. Today more than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Co. “Water is the lifeblood of our business and our commitment is to ensure we’re doing our part to replenish the water we use and give it back to communities around the world. By partnering with DEKA R&D to bring the Slingshot technology to water-stressed communities in remote places, we hope to be able to deliver and maintain a clean water solution for many remote communities, changing the daily lives of thousands of people.”

Before entering into this partnership, Coca-Cola and DEKA R&D conducted a successful field trial of the Slingshot technology at five schools outside Accra, Ghana, in 2011, providing 140,000 liters of clean drinking water to 1,500 school children over a six-month period. The systems experienced few issues and were able to operate based on the available electricity supply, working despite frequent power outages in the villages where they were located.

Coca-Cola and DEKA R&D are actively working to secure partnerships with leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and development banks to help fund the projects, identify locations and support placement and on-the-ground support efforts moving forward. The companies will partner with Africare, a leading nongovernmental organization in Africa, to field test Slingshot units in health clinics in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in 2013. The units will provide clean drinking water to the health clinics, which operate an HIV/AIDS intervention program that Africare is leading with support from the Coca-Cola Foundation.

Coca-Cola and DEKA R&D also will partner with IDB and the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of IDB Group, to initially test the Slingshot technology in remote communities in Latin America in 2013. During the first phase of this partnership, the technology will be employed in health centers, schools and rural communities where there is an urgent need to complement inadequate water systems in rural communities.

“Providing access to safe drinking water on a sustainable basis remains a pressing challenge in many rural and marginal urban areas of Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Luis Alberto Moreno, president of IDB Group. “This partnership with Coca-Cola and DEKA will allow us to test new models for bringing this vital service to extremely poor and remote communities."

“Our sustainability initiatives have reinforced over and over again our belief in the power of collaboration," Kent said. "Global challenges like water scarcity are bigger than any one company or organization and require us to think and partner beyond our own circles. Only through collective action and innovation will we achieve results where it’s most important.”