It’s always been hard for me to understand why big business refuses to acknowledge the economic benefits of conservation. Yes, regulations may take a tiny bite out of annual profits. Doing things the right way is usually more expensive than the alternative. But there’s also the idea of profit security. Business depends on natural resources, so even if these corporations could care less about the environment, you think they’d be slightly concerned about preserving the resources that allow them to be profitable in the first place.
Apparently, that concept has suddenly sunk in for the executives at the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. The company recently announced that it will make a $1.1 million investment in the Nature Conservancy to help preserve five Texas watersheds – including Nash Prairie outside of Houston – from which its bottling plants draw water.
It’s quite obvious that the company has agreed to invest this money for selfish reasons. If these water sources are contaminated or dry up, it’s bad for business. But in the meantime, money will go toward preservation work, such as reseeding the grass, to restore and expand an ecosystem that once covered 6 million acres from southwestern Louisiana through Texas. Preserving the biodiversity of this region will have far reaching benefits that extend beyond the soft drink industry.
“If there’s not fresh water, there’s no business — it’s just that simple,” said Laura Huffman, state director of the Nature Conservancy in Texas. “It is their number one infrastructure concern. … Water tops the list, above roads, above energy, above all else, because if you don’t get water right, you’re not making anything.”
While we still hate the fact that bottled beverage companies are single-handedly drowning the planet in plastic, we’re glad to see that they’re using the industry’s incredible financial clout to do something responsible. Dr Pepper has also started to clean bottles with air instead of water on 56 production lines, and by 2015, it hopes to cut water use and wastewater discharge by 10 percent for each gallon of finished product.