CGI recognizes Coca-Cola Brazil's Rainforest Water Program

Sept. 28, 2007
One of the most important international forums for sustainable development, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) recognizes the Coca-Cola Brazil Institute's Rainforest Water Program. In addition to gathering some of today's most important political and business leaders, CGI also involves the participation of social and environmental organizations and movements that perform important work in various parts of the world. The president of Coca-Cola Brazil, Brian Smith, and the managing-director of...

• The Brazilian Rainforest Water Program reforests riverbanks to improve water quality and quantity in watersheds; Initial phase to be implemented by the SOS Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest) Foundation; Resources provided by Coca-Cola Brazil, manufacturers and partners, in addition to the future sale of carbon credits

NEW YORK, Sept. 26, 2007 -- One of the most important international forums for sustainable development, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) recognizes the Coca-Cola Brazil Institute's Rainforest Water Program. In addition to gathering some of today's most important political and business leaders, CGI also involves the participation of social and environmental organizations and movements that perform important work in various parts of the world. The president of Coca-Cola Brazil, Brian Smith, and the managing-director of the Coca-Cola Brazil Institute, Marco Simões, will represent the program at CGI together with Heinz Center president, Tom Lovejoy.

"Brazil is a key country when it comes to the environment, and I am confident that the program will interest other international partners," said Brian Smith. "The Brazilian Rainforest Water Program represents one of the Coca-Cola Brazil System activities geared toward the environment and we hope that it can make a difference in the recovery of watersheds and also benefit the surrounding communities."

The program promotes the recovery of watersheds by replanting riparian forests. Such actions fall in line with the objectives of The Coca-Cola Company, which announced a partnership with WWF on World Environment Day to recover the world's seven main watersheds and become neutral in terms of water use. The company also used the occasion to establish goals for water use, summarized by "The Three Rs:" Reduce, Recycle and Replenish.

From 2008, The Coca-Cola Company will establish global goals on the "Reduce" platform to become the most efficient global company of water use in its sector. For "Recycling," the goal until 2010 is to return all of the water used in the plant processes to levels that support aquatic life and agriculture. "Replenish" means that the company will support projects associated with protecting water sources and community access to the natural good, rainwater collection, reforestation and efficient agricultural use.

In May, the Institute began to plant trees in Brazil as part of the third platform, Replenish. It also sequesters carbon by planting trees and collaborates for a more pleasant climate by increasing native vegetation.

The program was designed following the rules of the Kyoto Protocol, which includes the recovery of devastated forest areas. Therefore, the program emerged already with an additional possibility for resources to ensure its sustainability. That is why the program's implementation was preceded by phases of study, research and planning, including physical and chemical analyses of the river waters. To design and plan the program, the coordinators first identified the region's needs and the availability of the material and technical resources required for its implementation.

In its first phase alone, set to last five years, the Brazilian program will promote the replanting of 3.3 million seedlings of native species along a 3,000-hectare area, involving investments of R$ 27 million (US$ 13.5 million) until 2011. The SOS Atlantic Forest Foundation (Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica), one of Brazil's most important environmental NGOs, is the partner responsible during the first phase of the program for mobilizing the landowners, promoting social engagement, monitoring the water quality (involving the participation of schools) and raising the local population's awareness as to the need to conserve rivers and forests. It therefore promotes educational activities and invites students and civil society organizations from the neighboring cities to help measure the quality of the river waters over the long term, using kits with chemical and physical reagents and monitoring the results. This action directly involves at least 800 local residents.

"Society in general and the local population in particular must take an active role to ensuring the development of an environmental management program," said Mário Mantovani, director of the SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving the region with the most degraded nature on Brazilian territory. "This participation is important not only to ensure the program's success, but also for citizens to understand the benefits of the forest in their daily lives and in terms of each one's quality of life. People need to understand that the quantity and quality of the water they drink, the air they breathe and many other issues are, to a certain degree, decided inside the forest."

The pilot project was initiated with seedling in Serra do Japi, Alto Tietê, in São Paulo, the country's most populated State and one which faces problems in terms of the quantity and quality of water available for collection and use.

"It is easy to defend the environment on the territory of others," said Brazilian Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva. "What is difficult is defending it on our own. I am pleased that we are here with the purpose of helping environment and I congratulate the Coca-Cola Brazil Institute on this initiative."

The programs also includes the sponsorship of Coca-Cola FEMSA, the authorized manufacturer in Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and in the regions of São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil. The world's largest Coca-Cola plant in terms of production capacity is headquartered in the city of Jundiaí, in a region near Serra do Japi, and belongs to FEMSA.

The Coca-Cola Brazil Institute coordinates the country wise social and environmental projects developed by the Coca-Cola Brazil System. Its Advisory Board is responsible for advising the Institute's management, orienting economic, social and financial policies and forming opinions on the materials submitted by the entity's Board of Directors.

The Coca-Cola Brazil System, formed by Coca-Cola and 17 Brazilian manufacturing groups, directly employs over 34,000 workers, indirectly generating some 310,000 jobs.

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