Efforts will focus on protecting the Río Pasabién watershed in Zacapa, with the aim of increasing water-catchment and water-distribution capacities in the area.
World Wildlife Fund, Inc. (WWF) and the Coca-Cola Company signed an agreement on February 16 to pursue their shared vision of preserving and restoring watershed health to help protect important water sources in Sierra de las Minas. The Agreement was signed at the Coca-Cola’s ABASA bottling plant, located in Río Hondo, Zacapa.
At the global level, the Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners undertook the ambitious objective to reach a neutral hydric footprint by 2020, by means of various water replenishment programs meant to restore the water used in the company’s beverages and production to nature and neighboring communities. This strategy is aimed at protecting watersheds, supporting water-conservation measures, and raising the awareness of the population on the importance of saving water resources.
At the local level, this global alliance between Coca-Cola and WWF started its activities in the Mesoamerican Reef System eco-region, which encompasses the Caribbean watersheds in four countries: Mexico (the Yucatán Peninsula), Belize, Guatemala (the Caribbean region), and Honduras (northern coast).
During the first phase of this alliance (2007 a 2012) Coca-Cola improved its performance and incorporated local communities into the efforts to conserve and protect watersheds and their biodiversity, considering the direct impact that watersheds have on ocean health.
In this first phase coordination was established with various business-sector organizations, communities, local municipal governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote sustainable development.
The second phase of the alliance (2013 a 2020) reiterates the commitment to continue working on comprehensive watershed management and efficient use of water, and on improving the quality of life of communities neighboring the watersheds that constitute the Mesoamerican Reef System.
The five-year Agreement that was signed by the Coca-Cola Company and WWF on this date seeks to protect 350 hectares of forests in the Río Pasabién watershed, by preventing and controlling forest fires.
This Agreement will be implemented by the Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza, considering its renowned record protecting and managing the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve, where the Río Pasabién watershed –which supplies water to various communities, industries, and ecosystems– is located. In 2006, the Fundación launched the Sierra de las Minas Water Fund, as a technical and financial mechanism to conserve the natural resources in each of the watersheds set in the core area of the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve. As part of the Agreement, the Fundación will undertake the field actions aimed at mitigating threats, strengthening biological conservation processes, and improving the ecological mechanisms pertaining to environmental services, especially those involving water.
“We hope that the joint work that we will start implementing in this watershed will be a spearhead to encourage other companies and users to join local conservation efforts, and that it may set an example to be replicated in other watersheds in the country”, stated Andreas Lehnhoff, Guatemala’s WWF Director.
“Through this alliance with WWF, we wish to promote water-resource conservation, which is an essential factor to achieve sustainability in the communities where we operate. We consider supporting initiatives that seek to reduce the use, restore, and replenish this resource and programs that promote access to water and protect watersheds as one of our highest priorities. We are very pleased to join forces with WWF and Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza once again to protect the Río Pasabién watershed”, said Virginia del Aguila Lara, Coca-Cola Company’s Public-Affairs and Communication Manager.