New Delhi: Soft drinks major Coca Cola India on Monday got a clean chit from TERI in an environmental audit for compliance with Indian regulatory requirements.
US-based NGO Meridian Institute had recommended to Coke for mandating TERI to conduct the independent audit.
No pesticides were found in any of the intake water and treated water used to make beverages and the company’s plants were generally in compliance with applicable Indian environmental regulatory norms, the report said after a 16-month work at six of the company’s plants.
The study was taken up following concerns voiced by student groups of the University of Michigan (U-M) about water resource management and reports of pesticide residues in products.
Coke in consultation with the University of Michigan had appointed TERI, headed by environmentalist R. K. Pachauri, for the audit. The exercise was to be monitored by Meridian Institute for ensuring an independent assessment.
Incidentally, Pachauri had headed the inter-governmental panel on climate change that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year.
The audit, however, made recommendations to the company to strengthen internal standards in areas like water resource management and bacteriological presence in effluent water, besides suggesting adoption of a citizenship framework for CSR in India.
“The TERI report confirms that we meet Indian regulations and on an overall basis, the Coca Cola Company’s standards are often more stringent. However, it identified some areas where we can do better,” a Coca Cola official said on the report released by TERI.
A six-member Steering Committee engaged by TERI oversaw the work plan and methodology of the assessment for which six operational company plants namely Kaladera (Jaipur), Mehndiganj (Varanasi), Nemam (Tamil Nadu), Pirangoot (Pune) and two vendor units at Nabipur near Amritsar and Satupalle in Andhra Pradesh were selected out of the total 50 plants.
On specific issues, the report has suggested the company to gear itself up for revised global standards and guidelines, including extensive water resource evaluations, guidelines for operating in water scarce areas and impact of the plant on the community.