ATLANTA – Coca-Cola, one of the world’s biggest international companies has now announced that it will be working with several other international companies to improve the well-being of communities by giving them access to clean water. They will band together to create a kiosk designed to give needy communities the access to clean water, called EKOCENTER.
The project partners include companies such as DEKA R&D, IBM, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, McCann Health, NRG Energy Inc, and UPS. According to the chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, Muhtar Kent “the EKOCENTER’s core mission is to improve the physical well-being of people in rural communities, focused on providing safe drinking water to approximately 45,000 people in its first two years”.
EKOCENTER is a slingshot water purification system which helps make sure that communities obtain more sustainable living. Today, the project has rapidly grown. Coca-Cola has announced that “they will place between 1,500 to 2,000 EKOCENTER units around the world.”
Project leaders have also announced EKOCENTER units are not only geared to deliver clean water, but also other services such as wireless communications, continuous energy, health education, refrigerated vaccination storage and ways to promote entrepreneurship opportunities and community development. These services will be delivered to several regions like North America, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
The project will also promote gender equality. It will launch business and leadership opportunities for women. According to the Coca-Cola company, “women and entrepreneurs from local communities will be recruited to operate each EKOCENTER.” As a result, new job opportunities will be available to several communities. The Coca-Cola company also states that “entrepreneurs who are selected to run the EKOCENTERS will be given business skills training similar to the training given at the Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 program.” Overall, this business initiative will empower approximately five million women and entrepreneurs across the Coca-Cola chain by 2020.
Moreover, Muhtar Kent believes that “the EKOCENTER represents an investment in the future prosperity and progress of the most fragile and at-risk communities we serve.” This initiative has been started in Heidelberg, South Africa. There are plans to install other EKOCENTERS in this region by the end of 2013. In addition, thousands of EKOCENTERS will be created in the next decade. Experimental EKOCENTERS will be inaugurated in Latin America and Asia later this year.
– Stephanie Olaya
Sources: CSR Wire, Wall Street Journal
Photo: City Press