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Replenishment (sometimes known as “water balancing”) is an increasingly popular corporate water stewardship strategy that is the basis of many corporate goals and targets related to water. At their core, replenishment activities seek to return water to ecosystems and communities so that the water used by industrial and agricultural operations is “balanced” or “offset.” For example, in 2007, working with WWF and other partners, the Coca-Cola Company set an aspirational goal to “safely return to communities and nature an amount of water equivalent to what is used in our beverages and their production by 2020.”
Corporations often find replenishment targets helpful because they are easy to understand and go beyond simply “doing less bad” toward ensuring that river basins are largely unaffected by business activities. At the same time, some are skeptical of such strategies, especially because “replenishment” strategies represent only one part of a comprehensive stewardship strategy.
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