US: Coca-Cola CEO commits to African water plan
Coca-Cola Co. CEO Neville Isdell has committed the Atlanta, Georgia-based soft drinks company to assist in bringing clean drinking water to parts of Africa, reported Reuters.
"We're focusing on water because we're a hydration company," Isdell reportedly said at a Business for Social Responsibility conference.
Coke is working with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to install pumps and extend municipal water taps into outlying communities in Mali and to rehabilitate gravity-fed water systems and build new systems in Malawi, Isdell purportedly said at the conference.
Reuters said that the company has also partnered with CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) and UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), to launch water access, safety and storage programmes in schools in Nyanza province and Nairobi in Kenya.
The CEO added that Coke wanted to extend work with communities after experiences in India, where environmental activists have accused the company of depleting groundwater and selling contaminated beverages, the news agency reported.
The communist-ruled Indian state of Kerala placed a ban on products made by Coke and rival PepsiCo Inc. in August after the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment said they contained unsafe levels of pesticides. Six other states in India brought in at least partial bans too.
The Kerala ban was lifted in September by an Indian court, which said that it was unconstitutional and the products were safe to drink.
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