The Indian arm of the world’s largest soft drinks company Coca-Cola India is all set to come up with an India specific arm for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities this year, starting with a corpus of $10 million.
Yogesh Chandra, a former bureaucrat, will chair the Foundation and will start its operations in a couple of months, informed Praveen Agarwal, general manager, public affairs & communication, Coca-Cola India.
The Foundation would assess and evaluate the merit of proposals related to water management, water conservation, wetland management, environmental campaigns, he added.
It would scout for meritorious proposals from non-governmental organisations as well as from government and community bodies.
It might be called Bharatiya Coca-Cola foundation, although the name is not yet decided. The foundation might start disbursing funds by the third quarter of the financial year.
The company’s general CSR activities linked to developing the areas around its plant sites will continue as it is. It has 45 plants across the country and involves itself with community education, health & sanitation projects. The annual spend on these activities ranges between Rs 4-5 crore, informed Agarwal.
Apart from this, Coca-Cola is also pumping back the entire three million cubic meter (mcm) of water that it currently consumed for its operations back into the water cycle through rain water harvesting (RWH) structure.
Currently, it had 350 such structures in the country, and is planning to add 80 more by the end of this year. Coca-Cola is conserving 2.7 mcm of water now. It targeted a 100 per cent conservation by 2009, said Agarwal.
It would spend $25-30 million a year on the water conservation structures including rain water harvesting (RWH) and check-dams. The cost of putting up a RWH structure varies between Rs 60,000 and Rs 15 lakh, depending on the technical requirements and collaborations formed with community partners, added Agarwal.
In another significant move, Coca-Cola had forged tie-ups with International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation (BAIF), Pune, for sustainable and equitable management of rural water resources infrastructure and other natural resources management (NRM) through watershed interventions in villages near Jaipur in Rajasthan.
Bags Golden Peacock Award
Beverages company Coca-Cola India has been awarded the ‘Golden Peacock Global Award for Corporate Social Responsibility - 2008’.
The award has been given in recognition to the company’s efforts in water conservation and management, and its community development initiatives.
Ola Ullsten, former Prime Minister of Sweden and Chairman of the awards jury presented the award to the company at the 3rd Global Conference on Social Responsibility in Vilamoura, Portugal.
Coca-Cola India has installed 320 rain water harvesting (RWH) structures in 17 states and has restored several traditional water bodies such as the Sarai Bawari and Kale Hanuman ki Bawari and several check dams across the country for water conservation.
The company has a target to reach a “net zero” balance with respect to groundwater usage till 2009. It has also undertaken a project “Elixir of life” to provide drinking water to nearly 30,000 children in 100 primary and panchayat schools in and around Chennai. The company is also planning to provide clean drinking water in 1000 schools by 2010.