Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, and thank you very much for the invitation.
I'm John Guarino, president of Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada. Joining me today is Sandra Banks, vice-president, public affairs and communications.
I've had the privilege of living and working internationally for the last 25 years and serving markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, parts of Asia, and now, very proudly I might add, Canada. I've seen first-hand how the Coca-Cola company and its bottlers strive to make a positive difference in the communities around the world, and particularly in Africa. I have been travelling to Africa for the last 20 years and have visited 25 countries on the continent. I have personally witnessed both the promise and the challenges of this great continent. I love Africa for what it is and what it can be, and I am pleased to be here to share our story.
At the Coca-Cola company we know our business can only be as strong, sustainable, and healthy as the communities we serve. We believe that no company can have a significant impact in sustainability by working or thinking alone. Instead, we must rely on partnerships that connect business, government, and NGOs.
In Canada we collaborate with government, NGOs, other businesses, and local communities across the country to develop better solutions in the areas of active living and the environment. Through our partnership with the Breakfast Clubs of Canada, we have provided Minute Maid juices to school breakfast programs for over ten years. We work with ParticipAction to get kids off the couch and get them active, and with the WWF we are working to protect the Arctic habitat of the polar bear. Those are just a few of the ways we are partnering with others to make a positive difference. I should add that in Canada Coca-Cola operates in all ten provinces and employs directly 6,300 people in more than 50 facilities, including seven production plants.
Coca-Cola has been on the African continent since 1928, when the first bottling plant was established in Johannesburg, South Africa. Today Coca-Cola operates in all 56 countries and territories in Africa. We are one of the continent's largest private sector employers, with approximately 65,000 employees. In addition, it is estimated that for every person employed by Coca-Cola, more than ten people are employed in related industries.
Our corporate social investment programs in Africa are coordinated and implemented by the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. Established in 2001 in response to the growth and impact of the HIV pandemic, today the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation supports many other community initiatives. In being here with you today, I will focus on four important areas of our investments in Africa. These are health, including undernutrition and disease; women economic entrepreneurship; water; and sustainable agriculture. Given the scale and complexity of today's health issues, it's challenging for one business or even one industry to make a material difference on its own.
As you may know, malnutrition accounts for 11% of the global burden of disease, and it is the number one risk to health worldwide. We are using our beverage expertise to help with undernutrition, and Coca-Cola is working to bridge the protein gap in impoverished nations with protein-rich beverages. Coca-Cola is developing and distributing a global fortified juice product to give school children much-needed vitamins and minerals. We are partnering with government, nutrition experts, and organizations like the World Food Programme and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to get this beverage into school lunch programs, together with nutrition and physical activity education. Our global partners on this include Cutrale Citrus Juices; DSM, a global science-based company active in health and nutrition; Tetra Pak; and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, an NGO related to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Last year we launched pilots in Colombia, Malaysia, and Ghana. So far in Ghana we've reached 2,500 students, and we expect to reach 4,000 students by the end of next month.
Our concern for health and well-being extends beyond undernourishment. Since 2006 the Coca-Cola company has been involved in NetsforLife, a partnership battling malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. To date, NetsforLife has distributed 8.5 million nets, saved the lives of more than 100,000 children, and trained nearly 74,000 malaria control agents.
AIDS, of course, is one of the great health issues of our time. Through the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, we have formed partnerships with local grassroots and international NGOs to deliver HIV/AIDS education and prevention.
Our partnership with the Africa Network for Children Orphaned and at Risk, or ANCHOR, helps to support over 146,000 HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children across eight African countries.
Building on an existing partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, we joined with RED late last year to raise money and awareness in the fight against AIDS with our music platforms and other resources.
The world is now close to achieving the first AIDS-free generation of our time by virtually eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2015.
Coca-Cola is also working with the Global Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Yale health leadership institute to increase access to vital medicines in Tanzania. Using our supply chain expertise, we've joined with Tanzania's Medical Stores Department to develop a new distribution strategy, redesign core processes, and train medical store staffers. We're now working with our partners to replicate this initiative in Ghana, which has an acute need for vaccine distribution.
Around the world, we've seen first-hand the positive impact women's economic empowerment has on the health and well-being of families. In fact, we're striving to enable the empowerment of five million women entrepreneurs worldwide across our value chain by 2020. This effort, called “5 BY 20”, was launched in 2010. We expect to reach a total of 300,000 women by the end of this year.
In Africa, our micro distribution centre model has provided business ownership opportunities for women in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. In Nigeria and Ghana, over 70% of the micro distributors are owned by women.
Water is a very important focus for us, and one closely related to health and women's empowerment. By 2020 we're committed to giving back 100% of the water used in bottling our beverages.
Already we've conducted 386 community water projects in 94 countries since 2005. These projects not only have a direct health impact but they also empower women, given the time many women must spend carrying water, particularly in Africa.
To date, 42 water projects in 27 countries have been supported, in partnership with and co-funded by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, under the Water and Development Alliance, or WADA, and other partners.
In Senegal we undertook a Water and Development Alliance project to enhance access to water and sanitation for approximately 22,500 people in poor, rural, and remote communities. Our WADA project in Tanzania is providing water, sanitation, and hygiene services to almost 17,000 people living in ecologically sensitive areas.
The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation also has a Replenish Africa Initiative, known by its acronym “RAIN”. Our goal is to provide over two million people with access to safe drinking water by 2015. In the Amhara region of northwestern Ethiopia, RAIN has given access to water and sanitation to over 45,000 rural residents. RAIN will launch over 100 water access programs across Africa, including sanitation and hygiene education programs.
Finally, encouraging more sustainable agriculture practices is another focus for us. Agricultural products are ingredients in almost all of our beverages, so the health of our business depends on a healthy agricultural supply chain.
Our juice business is growing significantly. To make sure we can source enough juice to meet the demand, and to help improve the livelihoods of fruit farmers, we formed Project Nurture. This is an innovative four-year, $11.5-million partnership with the Gates Foundation and TechnoServe, a not-for-profit business organization.
With Project Nurture, we are helping more than 50,000 farmers in Kenya and Uganda to grow mangoes and passion fruit for locally sold fruit juices, building Coca-Cola's business while creating sustainable livelihoods at the farm level. A third of the participating farmers are women.
So far, more than 18,000 metric tonnes of fresh fruit from this project have been harvested and sold. Minute Maid juice drinks using locally grown mangoes from this project will be launched in eight countries beginning next month.
I know I've covered a lot of territory, and I appreciate your attention. I cannot promise to know all the details behind our many global initiatives, but I will do my best to address any questions you may have.
Thank you very much.