FEMSA Foundation is an independent organization aligned with FEMSA's sustainability strategy. As the company's instrument for social investment, we are committed to the creation of long-term value for the communities where we operate. To ensure the long-term success of our initiatives, we join forces with stakeholders from different sectors to create regional platforms.

Sustainable Development of Water Resources

In 2012, the Water Center for Latin America and the Caribbean—created by FEMSA Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Tecnológico de Monterrey—continued to address the training of water professionals, one of the greatest opportunities for water sustainability throughout Latin America. With new courses and facilities, the Center provided onsite and online training to 761 directors and technical personnel of the water community, up almost four times from 2011. The Center aims to train at least 1,000 water professionals annually by 2013.

Additionally, the Center and FEMSA Foundation organized and co-hosted the Latin American Focus day at the Stockholm International Water Institute's prestigious annual World Water Week. The forum convened governmental leaders and global food and beverage companies to share best practices regarding water and food security. The Center was also honored to be invited to become an official member of the World Water Council. Furthermore, the Center's consulting, research, and training generated approximately US$2 million to help fund its activities.

In 2011, we united with The Nature Conservancy, IDB, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to create the Latin American Water Funds Partnership. Over five years, the Partnership plans to implement at least 32 Water Funds throughout Latin America with investments of over US$27 million. Revenue from these investments will preserve key watersheds upstream that filter and regulate the water supply of some of the most important cities in the region.

Today, the Partnership has launched 12 Water Funds, benefiting 12 cities in five countries. In 2012, it initiated the Seed of Water Fund in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, to preserve the watershed of the Grijalva River—one of the country's main contributors of hydroelectric power. The Grijalva, Mexico's second-largest river, supports Chiapas' three biggest cities.

At the Rio+20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the Partnership announced the investment of US$1.1 million over the next five years to develop three Water Funds in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. These Funds will help to conserve approximately 50,000 hectares of watersheds, benefiting over 14 million people.

Quality of Life

In 2012, the Nutrigenomics Research Chair of the FEMSA Biotechnology Center at Tecnológico de Monterrey received the distinguished National Science and Technology for Food Prize from Mexico's National Commission of Science and Technology. The award was for research on alternative technology in genetic engineering that offers great potential to prevent diseases like diabetes and HIV. Supported by Mexico's National Science and Technology Council, the Chair also established The Laboratory of Emerging Technologies at Tecnológico de Monterrey. Unique in Latin America, the Laboratory is the first in a private university, and will join the World Health Organization's global food safety network. Additionally, the Chair launched five new research projects for a total of 17.

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