Water-intensive companies aim to use less

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. -guzzling / ˈɡʌz lɪŋ / (adj.) – consuming a large amount of resource, such as water, in a way that’s unnecessary and wasteful

    Old appliances, such as air conditioning or TV, are usually energy-guzzling. It’s better to buy new ones.

  2. steward / ˈstu ərd / (n.) – a person who manages or takes care of something, such as money, property, etc.

    The financial advisor acted as a steward to his clients’ investments.

  3. powerhouse / ˈpaʊ ərˌhaʊs / (n.) – an organization that has a strong influence and power

    CNN is a media powerhouse that’s been delivering news all over the world for more than forty years.

  4. sanitation / ˌsæn ɪ ˈteɪ ʃən / (n.) – the act of providing clean conditions, facilities, and practices related to public health

    The nonprofit organization implemented a sanitation program in rural areas and installed clean water sources.

  5. watershed / ˈwɔ tər ʃɛd / (n.) – an area of land where all the water that falls or drains into it is collected and flows out through a common outlet, such as rivers, streams, or lakes

    The protection of the watershed was important for preserving the quality of the drinking water source for nearby communities.


Read the text below.

Major corporations in water-guzzling industries such as clothing, food, beverage and technology want to be better stewards of the freshwater they use — especially as drought, floods and other extreme weather intensified by climate change threaten their supply chains. But of 72 companies ranked by a sustainability nonprofit over the past year, few are close to achieving the nonprofit’s 2030 targets.

Last year, Ceres launched an effort to press companies with large water footprints to protect those resources and address related financial risks. On October 29, the group released an analysis that included such powerhouses as Coca-Cola, General Mills and Amazon.

“In order for us to ensure that we have sustainable water supplies for communities, for the environment, and for businesses, we really need the private sector to step up and steward the water resources,” said Kirsten James, senior program director for water at Ceres.

Ceres said the companies were chosen from the four sectors based on factors including size and their impact on water. They were ranked based on a variety of factors, including commitments to protect the quantity and quality of the water they use, as well as the ecosystems that supply it. They were also assessed on whether they helped improve access to water and sanitation in communities where they do business. Ceres drew on publicly available information, including the companies’ filings and other voluntary disclosures through March.

None of the companies scored above 70% of the points available. Almost a dozen scored well enough to be rated “On Track” to meeting the goals, with at least 50% scores.

That included Coca-Cola, which said its water use in 2022 was 10% more efficient compared to 2015. The company said it aspires to have 100% circular water use — where every bit of water is used and eventually returned to the watersheds it has drawn from — at 175 locations by 2030.

But the company didn’t say how likely it was to reach that target, nor how much progress it has made. Coca-Cola also said manufacturing its product isn’t where most of its water footprint lies; rather, it’s in growing what goes into it.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • In your opinion, how important is it for companies to act as good stewards of natural resources? Discuss.
  • Aside from water, what other types of resources do you think large companies should use responsibly (ex. energy, land)? Why? How do you think they can do so? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • What are the powerhouse companies in your city? Are they actively participating in environmental causes? What makes you say so? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what should companies aspire to achieve in the coming years to ensure they have a good impact on communities and the environment (ex. more eco-friendly initiatives, investing in education, healthcare, etc.)? Why? Discuss.