From new technology to collaboration: how can companies make the right choices to help tackle water scarcity?



Nicola Tongue, Associate Director CCEP Ventures

Climate expert James P. Bruce once said “If climate change is the shark, water is the teeth”, and with demand for freshwater expected to outstrip supply by 40% by the end of this decade, [1]  there's no time to waste in tackling this pressing global issue.

Water shortages are now the fastest-growing concern among consumers around the world, with 35% of consumers ranking water shortages within their top three environmental concerns.

It's a critical challenge that can’t be ignored, but there are solutions on the horizon. Investment in water technology is expected to double to $55.2 billion by 2030.[2] This surge in funding makes clear the role that the business community has to play in taking stronger, collaborative action to protect this vital resource.

At CCEP Ventures we are seeking to find, fund and foster transformative solutions that can support us in meeting some of the most pressing environmental challenges faced by our business and our planet.  We know that climate change is exacerbating water scarcity in many parts of the world, and as a business which relies on water as an ingredient and for manufacturing purposes, we have a responsibility to think innovatively about how we respond to this issue. 

Here are some key things I’ve learned about how best to tackle the water scarcity challenge:



Working together:  Water transcends boundaries, and so requires a diverse network of stakeholders to help find solutions to protect it. Water scarcity is a global problem, that requires local action - there is no point being a ‘well-behaved fish in a dirty pond’. While individual efforts can make waves, it's the combined strength of diverse stakeholders that can move oceans so by applying global technology solutions to local watershed issues, we can drive impactful results.

Embracing new technology: Technology like AI, the Internet of Things, and sensing technologies will be critical in predicting water usage and optimising water distribution, particularly for industries like CCEP’s, which uses significant amounts of water to create products. AI and sensing technologies greatly benefit groundwater exploration, while generative AI models enhance leak detection. In fact, there's projected investment of over $6.3 billion into AI-based water technologies by 2030,[3] presenting an important opportunity for business to leverage these technologies for maximum impact.

Using all the opportunities at our disposal: It’s clear that technological advancements like water purification, desalination, and atmospheric water generation will be crucial in helping tackle water scarcity. But we also have some of the best solutions already available to us.  Across our CCEP markets we have a strong existing focus on water stewardship via water efficiency and reusing, recycling and replenishing water. Nature-based solutions, such as peatland restoration also play a critical role. Balancing technology and nature is key to effectively combatting water scarcity, and by considering regional demand and environmental conditions, it's possible to determine the right portfolio of solutions.

We support replenishment projects in many of our markets, such as in Belgium, where we’re working to restore the natural watersheds, in Tenerife, where treated wastewater is used for agricultural purposes, and in France where we are restoring surface water in Dunkirk through our collaborative Canal des Moeres project.

Investing in start-up technologies and innovation: It's not just established businesses that hold the key to solving this crisis. From AI-driven water usage predictions to groundbreaking desalination methods, startups are pioneering solutions to the water scarcity challenge. Larger businesses need to engage and collaborate with startups via investment, we can accelerate progress and drive transformative change.

Working alongside our partners at Deep Science Ventures, we’ve just launched an ambitious new project that is looking for water specialists and entrepreneurs capable of developing new technologies to tackle water scarcity, creating new companies that can work with CCEP and the wider industry. While we don’t know what technologies might be developed, taking an innovative approach like this allows us to find and trial new technologies while we continue to drive water efficiencies across our production processes. You can find out more and apply here.

Just as a drop of water ripples across the ocean, the impacts of global water scarcity are far-reaching and have become a pressing concern for communities, governments, and business worldwide.

But amidst this challenge, there is hope. With a surge in funding and the convergence of AI, nature-based solutions, water stewardship and novel technology, we have the tools to make a lasting impact.

Together, we can address the challenge of water scarcity and ensure a sustainable future for all.


[1] Global Commission on the Economics of water,