Sustainable Packaging Solutions in the Bottled Water Industry

Posted by Manisha S on October 10th, 2023

Concerted efforts to boost water conservation have prompted bottled water brands to bank on environmental, social and governance (ESG) pillars. Maintaining the delicate balance between the ecosystem and human needs will foster environmental sustainability. Brands are vying to bolster their sustainability journey with commitments across packaging, climate change, water and sourcing. Moreover, emphasizing labor management, supply chain labor standards, corporate governance, board diversity and transparency will develop resiliency and help produce high-quality and safe products.

Prioritizing ESG has become paramount for leading companies to stay ahead of the game amidst stiff competition. Consumers have increasingly sought bottled water. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, bottled water outnumbered soft drinks in the U.S., amassing 15.7 billion gallons of water as of 2021. The total volume of packaged drinks surpassed the all-time peak of the carbonated drink of 15.3 billion gallons in 2004. Industry players are expected to bank on the three pillars as ESG reporting is poised to garner headlines while framing sustainable strategies.

Key Companies in this theme

• Nestlé, PepsiCo

• The Coca-Cola Company


• Nongfu Spring

• National Beverage Corp.

• Keurig Dr Pepper Inc.

Environmental Perspective
Sustainable packaging solution has received an impetus to negate the environmental impact of plastic bottles. According to the survey conducted by the Harris Poll for the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), nine out of ten Americans sought the availability of bottled water wherever other drinks were sold. Soaring consumer preference for bottled water has prompted industry leaders to use recycled PET and HDPE plastic.

Prominently, PET bottled water containers have reduced material usage and weigh less. Moreover, rPET (recycled PET) and rHDPE (recycled HDPE) have become pronounced. In February 2023, Revalyu announced an infusion of USD 50 million to build a PET bottle recycling plant in the U.S. The company will use water- and energy-conserving advanced recycling methods on 12 million PET bottles per day when operation starts in 2024. With recyclable and sustainable packaging more in demand than ever, industry leaders will likely bolster their environmental profile.

Is your business one of participants to the Bottled Water Industry? Contact us for focused consultation around ESG Investing, and help you build sustainable business practices

Social Perspective
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has become imperative to narrow the gender gap across organizations. Recruiting from diverse backgrounds, social dialogue and emphasizing workplace safety can provide promising growth opportunities. In 2021, Danone rolled out the “Future of Work” study to redefine the ways of working. Besides, it fosters equal pay for men and women and has deployed a parental policy globally, covering 91,628 employees.

Companies have left no stone unturned to underpin and promote human rights. In 2021, Danone bolstered a partnership with UN Women and Bonafont in Mexico to equip and train women with entrepreneurship skills. The company has propelled its human rights policy as it has pledged to deploy and develop Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) systems emphasizing forced labor in its operations. In 2020, it attained the 5-year ambition of reducing lost time accidents by 50% between 2015-2020. Ensuring health & safety with a safe working environment will remain indispensable to streamline operations.

Governance Perspective

The business practices and principles designed to propel corporate governance, tax transparency, ethical behavior, accountability and board diversity have become pronounced. The Coca-Cola Company has an Audit Committee, a Committee on Directors and Corporate Governance, a Talent and Compensation Committee, an ESG and public policy committee, a Finance Committee and an Executive Committee to help smoothly discharge governance duties.

In 2022, the Talent and Compensation Committee gave the nod to link the ESG performance measures to annual and long-term incentive programs, thereby fostering executive compensation. The beverage giant has also incorporated its 2030 Water Security Strategy and World Without Waste packaging strategy (50% recycled material in all packages by 2030) into the 2022-2024 incentive awards.

The growing prominence of water security and the need for smart water policies has amplified the topic of water governance. Coca-Cola has incorporated certain ESG metrics to underscore water issues. It has over 225 bottling partners across 200 countries and territories. Moreover, in 2021, the drink company earned a spot on the “A-List” of CDP for leadership in corporate transparency and action on water security.

Incumbent players have depicted increased traction for organic and inorganic growth strategies to tap into the global ecosystem. Brands are likely to map opportunities from collaboration, technological advancements, innovations and research & development activities. To illustrate, in December 2022, PepsiCo set a goal to double the reusable packaging for beverages to 20% by 2030. These trends suggest that the global bottled water market could expand at 6.7% CAGR between 2022 to 2030.

Browse more ESG Thematic Reports from the Consumer Products Sector, published by Astra - ESG Solutions

About Astra – ESG Solutions by Grand View Research
Astra is the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) arm of Grand View Research Inc. – a global market research publishing & management consulting firm.

Astra offers comprehensive ESG thematic assessment & scores across diverse impact & socially responsible investment topics, including both public and private companies along with intuitive dashboards. Our ESG solutions are powered by robust fundamental & alternative information. Astra specializes in consulting services that equip corporates and the investment community with the in-depth ESG research and actionable insight they need to support their bottom lines and their values. We have supported our clients across diverse ESG consulting projects & advisory services, including climate strategies & assessment, ESG benchmarking, stakeholder engagement programs, active ownership, developing ESG investment strategies, ESG data services, build corporate sustainability reports. Astra team includes a pool of industry experts and ESG enthusiasts who possess extensive end-end ESG research and consulting experience at a global level.

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Manisha S

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Manisha S
Joined: August 2nd, 2017
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