By Emily Pearce, Sustainable Sourcing & Fairtrade Manager 

Living in the UK, we can take for granted just how easy it is for us to have regular access to clean water. But in many regions, it’s not a given. Around the world, a staggering 785 million people globally still lack access to safe, clean drinking water, a third of the population doesn’t have access to basic sanitation and an estimated 3.4 million people die every year, making water related diseases the leading cause of death around the world. This is simply not acceptable and why our Co-op has been taking action.

How buying bottles of water from Co-op, NISA partners or FRTS stores can help to change millions of lives

Working in partnership with The One Foundation, Co-op has spent the last 15 years investing in clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects around the world. We donate 3p per litre to water projects across the globe for every Co-op branded still, sparkling and flavoured water sold*.

In April 2017, we extended our support by signing up as pioneer partners to Water Unite, so now every branded bottled water that we sell contributes 1p per litre to the fund, which aims to end water poverty globally and reduce plastic pollution by 2030. This means that every time you choose to buy a bottle of Co-op own brand water, you are supporting communities across the world.

How we’re helping in India

Over the last few months, you’ll have likely seen the awful news coverage about how coronavirus spread quickly and ruthlessly across the world, including in India.

As per our agreement with The One Foundation, up to 10% of Co-op’s annual donation is held in reserve for DEC (Disaster Emergency Committee) Appeals where access to clean, safe water and hygiene facilities is critical.

Our DEC Appeal donation will help fund:

  • establishment of hand-washing stations and provision of water supplies, soap, essential cleaning and sanitising materials, PPE kits and information to reduce transmission;
  • dissemination of life-saving COVID-19 prevention messaging via 20,000 frontline health workers and community groups to the most vulnerable and impacted populations in Bihar;
  • provision of PPE and hand washing facilities in vaccination sites and enforcement of appropriate behaviour protocols and safe registration processes

If you’d like to directly contribute to this appeal, you can find out more information on the DEC website.

Sadly the water crisis is predicted to get worse as climate change disrupts the water cycle and intensifies the challenge so our support will become even more important. Back in May, we launched our ten-point climate plan sharing the actions we’re taking to play our part in tackling the global climate emergency. Last week, we announced our commitment to spend more than 0.7% of our pre-tax profit on international aid for the years to come as part of our commitment to climate justice, including our commitments to The One Foundation and Water Unite.

So, next time you visit your local Co-op, remember that by choosing Co-op own brand water you are helping to change lives. Thank you to our members, customers and colleagues for your continued support.

* Mixers (including tonic and soda water) are excluded.