News Feature | July 22, 2014

Coca-Cola Installing Clean Water Tech In Mexican Schools

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Coca-Cola is making an effort to provide clean water to schoolchildren in Mexico.

The Mexican charity arm of Coca-Cola announced a plan to donate drinking fountains that purify tap water to 741 public schools, the Wall Street Journal reported

Fundación Coca-Cola will spend $2 million, and has already installed 42 drinking fountains. "The fountains purify municipal water using sediment filters, activated carbon, and ultraviolet lamps, Fundación Coca-Cola said," the report said. 

Mexican water is notorious for its poor quality. 

"Mexicans' mistrust of municipal tap water runs deep and many communities lack access to clean drinking water. This combination has helped make Mexico the Coca-Cola Co.'s second-biggest market in the world by volume of sales and largest by per-capita sales. Mexico is also a top consumer per-capita of bottled water, according to Euromonitor International," the report said. 

What is Coke's motivation for showing its charitable side? 

The company is "under fire for contributing to obesity," according to the Journal. "Some blame the country's soft-drink binge, and the companies that make the soda, for contributing to Mexico's high rates of obesity and diabetes."

Mexico enacted a soft-drink tax earlier this year, according to trade publication Just Drinks. The law may inspire similar efforts across the across the border. 

"A groundbreaking tax on sugar-sweetened beverages recently passed in Mexico could provide the evidence needed to justify similar laws across low- and middle-income countries and cities in the US, experts believe," The Guardian reported in January. 

Lawmakers wanted the tax revenue to pay for clean water in schools. 

"The money to be raised, estimated at 15bn pesos, is intended to be earmarked for drinking water in schools – in some communities there is none, while in others it is not potable and bottled soft drinks are safer," the report said. 

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