Corporate giant Coca-Cola has teamed up with USDA in efforts to improve water resources in the United States and is proving to be a clever sustainable business model that other big corporations should follow.

While the world’s largest beverage company has been making headlines recently because of their “America the Beautiful” Super Bowl ad — it’s their efficient approach to water and their sustainable business that’s really bubbled our attention.

Coca-Cola and the US government partnered up

Back in September, the United States Department of Agriculture issued a press release letting folks know about how these two would be teaming up in efforts to replenish one billion liters of water to nature.

Obviously Coca-Cola needs drinking water to put out their product and some critics are framing this deal as more of the self-serving variety — the fact is this duo is also aiming to bring back more than a billion liters of water to the National Forest System. So even though the business will benefit from it, so will 60 million Americans who will need this drinking water.

In the press release, Coca-Cola America’s President Steve Cahilane announced their public-private partnership and talked about the work they’ll be doing to protect and restore damaged watershed.

“Coca-Cola supports more than 100 water projects throughout the United States in an effort to balance the water use and help to ensure clean water supplies for communities,” Cahilane said in the press release.

Of course a corporation this big has to put out sustainability initiatives — Coca-Cola followed through and in efforts to hit their water sustainability goals, they reached out to this government agency. It’s really the sustainable business model they’ve come up with to aid their operations as they improve the environmental situation for public resources that is especially awesome.

Coca-cola has so far dished out $660,000 on USDA projects and teamed up with a number of environmental groups.

With everything, there are skeptics, critics and the supporters

The Guardian recently analyzed the situation and looked at the partnership trying to determine whether or not this partnership was greenwashing or an inspirational business model.

Skeptics like Jesse Bragg, a spokesperson for Corporate Accountability International and Darcey O’Callaghan, internal policy director for Food and Water Watch are wary of corporate partnerships such as due to the influence they may have on political decisions, according to the Guardian. Folks like O’Callaghan think it’s problematic for government organizations to rely on the help from corporations.

Then there are supporters that are looking at Coca-Cola’s sustainability strategy as clever and something other companies should look at for inspiration.

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Image credit: ClaireAmada