As politicians, economists and business leaders gathered in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, PepsiCo announced a multi-million dollar funding package to promote sustainable water use around the world.
A total of $8.5 million is being given by the PepsiCo Foundation as part of the company’s continuing commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were established in 2000 and endorsed by 192 nations. One MDG is to reduce by half the proportion of the world’s population that has no access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, saving millions of lives in the developing world.
Pepsi’s money is being channelled into the field through two partner organisations: the Earth Institute at Columbia University in the US, one of the leading institutions dedicated to global sustainable development, and H2O Africa, the clean water charity set up by Hollywood star Matt Damon.
The Earth Institute, led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, will receive $6 million over three years to fund projects in India, Brazil, China and Africa. The aim is to develop sustainable practices that will increase water availability and improve agriculture, among other gains.
Damon’s H2O Africa will receive $2.5 million over the next 12 months to fund clean water projects in Niger, Mali, Senegal and other African countries.
“For PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation, these commitments begin with a desire to address the worldwide water crisis,” said Pepsi’s Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi.
“Water sits at the nexus of so many challenges – global health through disease transmission, increasing hunger through poor agricultural practices, and even education, as children in water-scarce economies are often charged with walking miles to collect water from a distant well instead of attending school.”
Researchers calculate that more than a billion people around the globe currently have no ready access to safe drinking water – and every year about two million children in the developing world die unnecessarily from water-related diseases.
“Without clean water, none of the other fundamentals leading to a healthy and prosperous life are possible,” Nooyi continued.
“As part of our long-standing commitment to address this crisis, we’ve entered into a strategic partnership with Jeffrey Sachs’ Earth Institute and Matt Damon’s H2O Africa Foundation to find and implement truly sustainable solutions in India, Brazil, China – the fastest growing developing markets – and communities in Africa where the need is greatest.”
“Water is at the core of economic development and human well-being,” commented Sachs. “With water, there can be productive agriculture, good nutrition, sanitation and health. Without water, there is only poverty and disease. Yet water is under unprecedented stress from inadequate farm practices, climate change, population pressures and pollution.
“New technologies, new business strategies and new public policies can overcome the growing water crisis. Our new project and partnership will help to develop and demonstrate the best options for future years in the Americas, Africa and Asia.”
Damon, action man hero of The Bourne Ultimatum, said: “On my trips to Africa, I saw first-hand the life-changing impact that access to safe water can have, especially for children. Along with other factors like sanitation, medical care and education, safe water enables entire communities to pull themselves out of the cycle of poverty.
“At H20 Africa, we’re working with established NGOs already ‘on the ground’ to bring assistance to communities in need.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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