Soft drink giant pumping up water awareness through hikes
Updated: 2014-06-22 07:02
By Xu Jingxi (China Daily)
Participants in the Walk for Love campaign hope their involvement will increase public awareness of maintaining healthy lifestyle choices and the need to support worthwhile charities. Provided to China Daily
Coca-Cola China is determined to carry on the Clean Water Project it co-founded with charity organization One Foundation in 2012 and initiate more creative, engaging campaigns like the Walk for Love hiking event in Shenzhen.
"Water purification might be unfamiliar to people who live in cities and can fetch clean water once they turn on the tap. However, it is such a far-reaching project beyond people's imagination and a grand mission that cannot be completed by only a small group of people," said Zhang Huaying, vice-president of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea.
Fifty million children in 114,000 rural schools across China are still without safe drinking water, according to Zhang, who was stunned by the dire situation during several field trips to water-deficient, poverty-stricken areas.
Many residents still rely on sources such as rivers, lakes, pit-ponds and rain for their drinking water. In some areas, people walk two hours to fetch muddy, bitter-tasting water and students still drink unboiled tap water.
"I believe everyone would give a helping hand if they visited these areas and saw the children's faces when drinking such water," Zhang said.
Coca-Cola China decided to take the lead in improving drinking water safety in rural areas and "trying to blend it into the communities", she said.
In 2013, Coca-Cola China invested more than 5 million yuan ($800,000) in the Clean Water Project, which installed water purification equipment in rural schools. In total, its investment in water-related charity projects in China last year surpassed 10 million yuan.
"However, we are unable to solve the problem on our own," Zhang said. "Water purification requires constant investment, a great deal of money and a large amount of affordable equipment and, more importantly, people's attention and persistence."
For example, people are needed to hand deliver water purification equipment in remote water-deficient areas. After installing the equipment in schools, they also have to teach people about the usage and maintenance and need to revisit the schools regularly.
To enhance public awareness of the Clear Water Project, Coca-Cola China launched its first social welfare-based bottled drinking water brand - Ice Dew Chun Yue - this year. By scanning the QR code printed on the bottle, consumers can learn about the project through the information which appears on the screen of their cell phones and make donations.
(China Daily 06/22/2014 page11)