A leading environmental research group has asked Coca-Cola to consider shutting down a bottling plant in Rajasthan, saying that it is depleting scarce water supplies in that desert state.
The recommendation came in a report released last week by the Energy and Resources Institute which was commissioned by Coca-Cola in 2006 in response to reports that pesticide residues had been found in its products.
The study found no pesticides in the water used at the six bottling plants it sampled, but expressed concern about the company's use of scarce water supplies, reports The Scotsman.
The assessment looked at six of the company's 49 bottling plants in India, but highlighted conditions at the Kaladera plant in Rajasthan. Its presence in this area would "continue to be one of the contributors to a worsening water situation and a source of stress to the communities around," it said.
The company should find alternative water supplies, relocate or shut down the plant, the report concluded.
Atul Singh, chief executive of Coke's India division, said the company was not considering shutting the plant.
"The easiest thing would be to shut down, but the solution is not to run away," he said. "If we shut down, Rajasthan is still going to have a water problem. We want to work with farming communities and industries to reduce the amount of water used," Singh was quoted, as saying.