The brand partnered with the National Geographic Society, Bonneville Environmental Foundation and Participant Media as the first corporate sponsor for Change the Course, a multi-year campaign to converse freshwater and preserve ecology in the Colorado River Basin.
Change the Course challenges the public to learn about freshwater issues, calculate their own water footprint with the National Geographic’s interactive tool and take a pledge to conserve at changethecourse.us. For every pledge received, Silk or another corporate sponsor will make a donation to restore 1,000 gallons of water back into the Colorado River.
For 2013, Silk has also committed to offsetting 50 percent of its manufacturing water footprint through the purchase of water restoration certificates and 100 percent of its electricity footprint from manufacturing at its company-owned facilities. Silk’s goal is to offset 100 percent of both its water and electricity footprint in the coming years through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
WhiteWave Foods, Silk’s parent company, has made several sustainability commitments including reducing waste-to-landfill, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. To date, the company has reduced greenhouse gas emissions on a per gallon of product basis by 21 percent compared to its 2006 baseline. The company has reduced waste-to-landfill by 35 percent compared to a 2007 baseline and non-ingredient water by eight percent compared to a 2008 baseline.
An independent study commissioned by WhiteWave found, on average, producing one half-gallon of plant-based beverages such as soy milk and almond milk requires 77 percent less water and generates 47 percent fewer greenhouse gases than producing one half-gallon of conventional US dairy milk.
Last month, Dairy UK signed an agreement with the the Waste and Resources Action Programme to cut the dairy industry’s water use and improve its water management.
US dairy companies also have reduced their water use. Dean Foods’ water use intensity dropped almost 4.5 percent year-on-year, from 1.4992 gallons of water used per gallon of product in 2010 to 1.4330 in 2011, according to the dairy company’s latest sustainability report. The company’s absolute water use dropped 6 percent over the course of the year, from 5.2 billion gallons in 2010 to 4.9 billion gallons in 2011.