At PepsiCo, we believe that a responsible business must act as a global citizen. The ability of a company to flourish long-term ultimately depends on the health of the communities of which it is a part and the natural resources on which it relies. The corporations that win in today’s competitive, resource-scarce and hyper-transparent world are those that create real value for society. 

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China is a dynamic industrial engine and an emerging leader in the world economy. However, there is another China, full  of rural communities, often lacking basic infrastructure and competing for limited resources with its rapidly industrializing counterpart. Chinese society struggles with the growing pains of rapid growth and the needs of an enormous population still living in a world largely untouched by the benefits of China’s economic transformation.

Access to water for China’s rural poor has been a priority of the Chinese government since the 1980s. Working with government ministries, the China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF) launched a program called Water Cellars for Mothers in 2000.

Depending on the specific needs of a village, school or household, Water Cellars for Mothers brings access to safe water through rainwater harvesting or building centralized water supply systems in target communities in rural central and western China.

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PepsiCo’s involvement with Water Cellars for Mothers began in 2001 with several grants supporting the project. In 2011, the PepsiCo Foundation awarded CWDF a $5 million grant, to establish more systemic support of Water Cellars. With the support of China’s Ministry of Water Resources, the PepsiCo Foundation grant is funding safe water access projects for people in rural villages and primary schools in eight provinces and municipalities, including Yunnan, Gansu, Guangxi, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Qinghai and Inner Mongolia.

The lack of economic development in many of these communities is compounded by severe, persistent drought. With the help of Water Cellars for Mothers, families and villages are provided the means to efficiently capture and store what little rainwater there is. 

CWDF works as a “platform” to mobilize resources for specific projects. “Through years of cooperation with the PepsiCo Foundation, we have been working to develop an effective model to address social issues in China, by leveraging various resources and strengths of the government, the private sector 
and NGOs. This cooperation model ensures the stability of the project execution, as well as the long-term impact and social development,” said Qin Guoying, secretary-general of CWDF. 

Action on the ground:

  • The PepsiCo Foundation committed $5 million in support of the Water Cellars for Mothers program in 2011.
  • The grant is the largest individual donation the PepsiCo Foundation has ever made in China.
  • By end-of-year 2014, the goal is to provide 17 schools, including 14,000 students, teachers and school staff with safe water access.