The Connect the Drops initiative – which counts General Mills and Coca-Cola among its members – is coordinated by non-profit organisation Ceres and aims to improve water sustainability in California, which has suffered severe drought.
“Clif Bar now has the opportunity to learn from its peers, even though they have different commodities,” said Ceres director Ana Zacapa. “It will also be part of the discussion on water policy.”
Water stewardship goals
By joining Connect the Drops, companies are committed to having or setting public water stewardship goals, publicly sharing their water-related stories, and engaging on California’s water policy.
“We try to maximize water supplies through conservation, recycle, reuse, storm water capture,” added Zacapa.
Clif Bar said one reason it has joined the campaign is because it believes organic ingredient sourcing has a positive impact on water stewardship in the agricultural supply chain. Currently, around 74% of the Clif Bar’s ingredients are organic, and the company hopes to reach 80% in five years.
“Organic farming, which results in less pesticide runoff, is aligned with good sustainable water management practices,” said Zacapa. “In this respect, having the know-how and supply chains in organic products could represent a competitive advantage for a business in a water constrained environment.”
Boost to organic farming
In return, regulation and best practice on sustainable water management could be a boost to organic farming, she added.
California supplies 40% of fruit and vegetables for the US and the percentage is even higher for certain produce such as almonds and tomatoes, according to Zacapa.
California state senator Fran Pavley said the frequency and severity of drought conditions was expected to increase, making it “more important than ever for businesses to discuss water management”.