I just came across this excellent article on water foot printing in the beverage industry and had to share. The article’s core premise makes a lot of sense: the beverage industry’s relatively high use of water and its conceptual proximity to water in consumers’ minds make it an interesting test case for how water issues will ripple throughout the rest of the economy.
In my research this semester I’ve found that surprisingly few beverage companies are taking water risk seriously, in part because the municipal water districts which supply them are just beginning to create their own clear conclusions about supply risks from climate change and changes in land use. As these risks become more apparent the pressure will be on from both regulators and customers, and it will be interesting to see how beverage companies react. Will the best practices of big players like Coke be able to scale down to the little guys? Will beverage companies take a role in building resiliency into the systems which supply our population with potable water? (Hopefully while keeping that supply equitable.) Here’s hoping.