Corporations are pledging to be ‘water positive’. What does that mean?

Corporations are pledging to be ‘water positive’. What does that mean?

Reuse, watershed restoration and new cooling methods back companies’ commitments to conserve scarce water resources

One of PepsiCo’s largest food manufacturing plants sits in the perennially water-stressed Valley of Mexico watershed, which provides water to 21 million people in Mexico City and its surrounding suburbs. The aquifer running below the city is so drastically depleted that the metropolis is sinking as the water table falls, and the pipes that bring water in from far-off rivers and lakes are in disrepair.

“The city cannot provide the water that we need, so we truck it in,” said Roberta Barbieri, vice-president for global sustainability at PepsiCo. It’s an expensive solution to an intractable problem – the water shortage is not sustainable from either a human or business standpoint. So Pepsi has promised to decrease its water consumption in the region and replenish what it uses. By treating wastewater on site, for example, the factory can reuse 80% of the water it draws from the tap or the truck. “We’re pushing to get that close to 100%,” Barbieri said.

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