Since 2013, we’ve been working with the World Wildlife Fund UK (WWF-UK) to restore and protect rivers across England.

Water is the main ingredient in all of our products, and it’s also an important part of our production process. That’s why we want to make sure we use it in a way that’s responsible and sustainable. We also want to show other businesses how they can reduce their impact on freshwater environments.

As part of our global commitment to sustainability, our goal is that by 2020 we will be safely returning to nature the same amount of water that we are using.

We’re improving the health of two of England’s unique chalk streams – one is in south London, close to one of Coca-Cola European Partners’ bottling plants, and this one in Norfolk.

The River Nar: a case study

This river is directly linked to the Coca-Cola system because it flows through an area where we get 80 per cent of the British sugar beet we use in our drinks. It’s a site of scientific interest because its healthiest stretches are pure, clear homes for otters, water voles, trout and kingfishers.

The WWF UK is helping us to get this river closer to good ecological status, a requirement under the EU Water Framework Directive.

One of the problems the Nar faces is that wet weather causes fertilisers and pesticides from local farms to seep in. So, we’ve been working with farmers to reduce this kind of pollution.

Another problem is that in some places the river has been artificially changed to flow in straight trenches. We’re trying to restore it to its natural, meandering state, so that it works harmoniously in times of flood and local wildlife will find it more appealing. We captured a year’s progress on the River Nar in this video.

Photography credit: Charles Rangeley-Wilson