Coca-cola's Dehradun plant
Reports that Coca-Cola plans to use surface water from Yamuna for its
upcoming bottling plant near Dehradun have raised concern about power
production from hydel projects on the river. "If water is taken by Coke from Yamuna at Vikasnagar, it will surely
affect the power production of our five major hydel projects," said G P
Patel, managing director of the state-run UJVN Ltd, which produces 475
Mw. Avadhash Kaushal, chairperson of Dehradun-based NGO Rural Litigation and
Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), said: "Three major hydel projects were scrapped on the Bhagirathi river, which is a big loss to
Uttarakhand. Since our state is facing acute power shortage, we will oppose any move
that will affect the power production of hydel projects on the river
Yamuna." The river also provides water for irrigation to Haryana, Delhi and
Coca-Cola signed an agreement on April 17, 2013 with the government-controlled State Industrial and Infrastructure Development
Corporation of Uttarakhand Ltd (SIDCUL) here for setting up a Rs 600-crore plant at Chharba village in Dehradun district, one of the
first major investments in the state after the withdrawal of the hill-based tax incentives in 2010. The company's
vice-president Patrick George said the plant might go on stream in 18 months.
Water and Coca-Cola
Water availability is potentially one of Coca-Cola 's most pressing
risks. Water "is essential to the future viability of The Coca-Cola Co. and our system of bottling partners
around the world," Kent said in a speech last year in Istanbul.
From southern Europe to parts of India and China, Mexico and the U.S.,
many of Coca-Cola 's territories are facing or could face water stress. According to the United Nations,
almost 900 million people worldwide to not have access to clean
water. In a decade, two-thirds of the projected population of 8 billion could live in water-stressed areas.
Coca-Cola uses 309 billion liters of water annually to produce its beverages. That's about what Atlanta uses in
five months, according to the city's Department of Watershed Management.
In 2008, the company said, Coca-Cola used 2.43 liters of water to produce an average one-liter beverage. One liter goes
into the beverage itself, and 1.43 liters are used for manufacturing
processes such as rinsing, cleaning and cooling. The company says its
global system of about 1,000 bottling plants is on track to improve water efficiency by 20 percent between 2004 and 2012.
According to a goal announced by former CEO Neville Isdell in June 2007,
Coca-Cola by 2020 will offset the water it uses in production by using water more efficiently, returning clean water to
the environment, protecting watersheds, harvesting rain water and helping farmers use water more efficiently.
Coke's use of
water in Indian villages
Before few years a bitter dispute erupted in India over Coke's use of water, in part because of the sheer volume
of water the company requires to make its products. In a country where
water already is in short supply, the years-old controversy has not entirely gone away, as vociferous critics say Coke's water campaigns are
a thinly veiled attempt to distract the public from ongoing problems.
Coca-Cola commissioned the study after a wave of student protests on campuses
Protests by farmers
Protests by farmers, complaining against pollution, forced HCBPL to close down
the unit in 2005. The conflict between industry and farmers reflects a wider battle in India,
where efforts to modernise the densely populated country have often met with
protests from villagers who make up more than half of the country's 1.1 billion plus population.
A final decision on the compensation will be taken by the state government.
But news of the committee's findings in Kerala spread to at least two states
where local villagers are protesting against Coca-Cola, alleging similar depletion of water and contamination.
"The water level in and around the bottling plant has gone down by at least
40-50 feet," said Nandalal Master, a local leader, spearheading a movement
against Coca-Cola outside Varanasi in the northern state of Uttar
Pradesh." We are organising huge protests and planning to move court and seeking more
support of people," Master said.
Environmentalists say similar protests against another Coca-Cola bottling plant
were being planned in Rajasthan, in northwestern India. "This decision will strengthen the resolve of people against similar plants in
other states and we foresee more protests," said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, a pro-farmer campaign
A panel convened this year by the government of the state of Kerala
recommended that Coca-Cola be held liable for at least $47 million in damages for alleged pollution from a local
bottling plant. Coca-Cola stopped production at the plant in 2004 as protests and boycotts raged over pollution and
groundwater depletion. Coca-Cola says the committee appears to have been set up with a pre-determined
conclusion. It argues that scientific studies have shown that Coca-Cola 's bottler did not cause local watershed problems.
Coca-Cola bottling plant in
In January 21, 2008 a leading environmental research group has asked Coca-Cola to consider shutting down a bottling plant in
Rajasthan, saying it is depleting water supplies in the desert state. The recommendation came in a report released last week by the Energy and Resources
Institute which was commissioned by Coca-Cola in 2006 in response to reports that pesticide residues had been found in its products.
The study found no pesticides in the water used at the six bottling plants it sampled, and said that water quality “generally meetsthe
government regulatory standards”.
But the report expressed concern
about the company’s use of scarce water supplies—an issue that has been raised repeatedly by villagers who live near several of
the company’s bottling sites. The assessment looked at six of the company’s 49 bottling plants in India, but highlighted conditions at the Kaladera plant in
Rajasthan. The plant’s presence in this area would “continue to be one of the contributors to a worsening water situation and a source of stress to the communities around,” it said. The company should find alternative
water supplies, relocate or shut down the plant, the report concluded.
Atul Singh, chief executive of Coke-Cola India division, said the company was not
considering shutting the plant. "The easiest thing would be to shut down, but the solution is not to run away," he said. "If we shut down, Rajasthan is still going
to have a water problem. We want to work with farming
communities and industries to reduce the amount of water used," Singh was quoted, as saying.
Coca-Cola India unit
to pay $47 million damages
The Indian unit of Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) has been asked to pay $47 million compensation for causing environmental damage at its
bottling plant in the southern Indian state of Kerala, state officials said on
March 22, 2010. A state government panel, in a report late on Monday, said Coca-Cola's
subsidiary, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd (HCBPL), was responsible for
depleting groundwater and dumping toxic waste around its Palakkad plant between
1999 and 2004. The company operates 52 bottling plants in India. Coca-Cola said in a statement late on Monday,
the 22nd March 2010 that HCBPL was not responsible for causing pollution in Palakkad.
Coca Cola Soft drink plants cause chromium pollution
According to a study by Hazards Centre, the NGO found high levels of toxic chromium and other pollutants in the
soil and water around five Coca Cola and Pepsico plants in northern India.The study was released two months after a Kerala government panel ruled
that Coca Cola must pay Rs.216 crore in compensation to villagers affected by pollution, and a depletion of groundwater resources, by its
Plachimada bottling plant.
Now, five other communities — Mehdiganj and Ghaziabad in Uttar
Pradesh, Kaladera and Chopanki in Rajasthan, and Panipat in Haryana — are also
claiming that the soft drinks plants in their vicinity are responsible for their woes.
“We found that chromium was the most common pollutant,” said Dunu Roy,
director of Hazards Centre. He said 59 of the 85 water samples showed
chromium concentration above the permissible limit of 0.05 parts per
million (ppm), with some samples going as high as 5.64 ppm. “Chromium can cause skin rashes, upset stomachs and ulcers, respiratory
problems and cancer,” said Mr. Roy.
Cadmium and lead were also detected in samples from Ghaziabad.
Concentrations were high in samples collected from the drains where factory effluents were discharged, showing that it is finding its way
out from the manufacturing process.
The Hazards Centre says that since these heavy metals are not supposed to be part of the process for manufacturing beverages, no
standards are specified for them for this industry sector in the Environmental Protection Act, 1986. High Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)
levels also show that the effluent must contain a significant amount of chemicals other than the three heavy metals analysed, according to the
study. Coca Cola rejected the study's findings, saying that their operations conform to Pollution Control Board
Coca-Cola commissioned the study
Coca-Cola commissioned the study after a wave of student protests on
campuses around the world, spurred by reports of high pesticide levels in Coca-Cola drinks in India. Those accusations originated with another Delhi-based environmental research group, the Centre for Science and
Environment, which disclosed in August 2006 that tests it had conducted on 11 Coke and Pepsi products showed pesticide levels as much as 24 times the recommended limit. Shortly after those findings were released, students at
the University of Michigan called for a ban on the sale of all Coke products on campus. After talks with the university, Coca-Cola agreed to cooperate with an
independent assessment of its work in India. The university selected the institute to conduct the research, which was financed by Coke. In a letter to Coca-Cola after publication of the report, the University of Michigan said it would continue to do business with the company.
Sunita Narain, head of the Centre for Science and Environment, said that TERI tested the water used in the manufacture of the drinks, rather than the final product. “We don’t see this as a clean chit for Coca-Cola because the study doesn’t test the final product, and
that is what the consumer drinks,” she said in a telephone interview, adding that pesticides could be present in other ingredients.
Rising demand for commercial water coincides with plummeting ground-water levels, which dropped by up to eight meters (26 feet) in the first seven years of Coca-Cola
operations in India, from 1999 to 2006, according to India Resource Center, an activist group, citing data from hydrograph monitors of the government Central Ground Water Board.
A 500-page TERI report that urged closure of the Rajasthan bottling plant was
commissioned by Coca-Cola in 2006 to study allegations of pesticide residues in its products. TERI found no pesticides in water samples in
six bottling plants it studied, but its findings on water stress vindicated water protesters
and stunned Coca-Cola executives, who have not contradicted the findings. Of the six Coca-Cola plants surveyed in the study, three are in areas suffering increased stress on groundwater.
Coca-Cola gets 70% of its net operating revenue from outside the US, with growth led by Eurasia, in which the company groups India with the rest of the landmass east of the European Union
to the Pacific, excluding China and Southeast Asia. Eurasia's 16% growth last year in unit case volume of the company's products, including water, was the fastest pace of Coca-Cola
six geographical groupings, according to its web site. Net operating revenues in Eurasia grew 24% in 2007, a pace matched only by Latin America, and
operating income growth of 38% was more than double the companys overall worldwide increase