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The Water Futures Partnership opens to new local and global partners

31 August 2011

SABMiller, WWF and the German international development agency (GIZ) are inviting businesses, NGOs and other organisations to join the Water Futures Partnership, to help drive collective action to address some of the most pressing water risks in cities and watersheds around the world.

Established in 2009, the partnership has published its second report, detailing the progress made in identifying, assessing and beginning to address the challenges facing businesses, communities and the environment in watersheds in South Africa, Peru, Tanzania and Ukraine.

Andy Wales, SABMiller's head of sustainable development said: "Single actors cannot alone effectively mitigate the complex and often deeply-embedded causes of water risks.  Our assessments show that the fundamental causes of many of our business-specific water risks are the same drivers of the water problems facing communities and ecosystems. We recognise that these challenges can only be addressed through multi-stakeholder collective action and openly invite other NGOs, donors and public sector agencies, who have a shared interest in the areas in which we are working, to join our partnership. It is only by working in a participatory way can we have an impact on improving water management for communities, environment and business."

The Water Futures Partnership was initiated by the three organisations to demonstrate the business case for private sector engagement in promoting the sustainable management of water resources.

The new report ‘Water Futures - addressing shared water challenges through collaborative action' highlights the intension of the partnership to include new partners and new collaboration countries - Colombia, Honduras, India and the USA. It also provides details of the actions that have been taken in the initial four partner countries to address water risk.


Some of the findings and resulting actions include:

George and Polokwane, South Africa - the water footprint assessment in South Africa identified two priority risk areas to be addressed: (1) risks associated municipal effluent treatment affecting the brewery at Polokwane and (2) vulnerabilities associated with SABMiller's agricultural supply chain, particularly the availability of water to hop farms in the dry Western Cape. More detailed assessments of the latter identified climate change, the spread of thirsty invasive species and competition for water amongst users as drivers of risk to the SAB Ltd's hop farms.

Tanzania - the shortfall between the demands for water and the available water resources are likely to have very serious effects not only on SABMiller's operations but, more broadly, on the country's prosperity, people's health, and aquatic ecosystems. The partnership is developing plans to work with farmers in the upper catchment to reduce their impact on water resources, as well as working with the Dar es Salaam Municipality to reduce water leakage from the city's water and sewer network.

Ukraine - a business risk assessment identified wastewater discharge from the brewery as a potential risk to the local SABMiller business in Donetsk city, both in terms of operation and reputation. Poor municipal sewage infrastructure means that sewer collapse and subsequent pollution of the Kalmius River is a significant risk. The Kalmius runs through Donetsk city and so it was recognised that this risk is shared with the local community and environment. Amongst other things, the Water Futures Partnership is applying for funding to overhaul the municipal sewer, as well as joining with other industries to protect the Kalmius river from further degradation.

Dave Tickner, head of freshwater at WWF-UK said "This partnership is an example of how to use risk assessment approaches to encourage action for improved water resource management. As far as I know, it is one of just a few examples where a business is using the results of risk assessments to justify allocation of resources in order to tackle the most pressing water issues at the river basin scale. We are now in a position to work with other stakeholders to implement real mitigation actions and influence policy. The proof of success will be in what social, economic and environmental impacts we can achieve in the next months and years".

Robin Farrington, Senior Advisor in International Water Policy and Infrastructure at GIZ says: "The Water Futures Partnership is pioneering new and exciting approaches to address water problems shared by public and private sector actors. We are proving that in a well-facilitated and transparent environment, businesses can form action-orientated partnerships with government, NGOs and donors, in an effort to pool resources to tackle what is likely to be the greatest challenge of the century: water security for all."

ENDS

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Notes to editors

The report can be viewed and downloaded at:
www.sabmiller.com or http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/waterfuturesreportaug2011.pdf

SABMiller plc is one of the world's largest brewers with brewing interests and distribution agreements across six continents. The group's wide portfolio includes global brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch, as well as leading local brands such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie. SABMiller is also one of the world's largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products.
 
In the year ended 31 March 2011, the group reported US$4,491 million of adjusted pre-tax profit and group revenue of US$28,311 million. SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

WWF is one of the world's largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries.  We're working to create solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature can thrive.  Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, tacking climate change and changing the way we live. 
 
In 2011, WWF's 50th anniversary year, we are celebrating what we have achieved so far together, and are positive about tackling the challenges of the future. Find out more about our work, past and present at wwf.org.uk

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. It supports the German Government in international cooperation for sustainable development and in international education work. GIZ supports people and societies in shaping their own futures and improving living conditions.

Enquiries

SABMiller plc
t: +44 20 7659 0100

Bianca Shevlin
Corporate media relations manager
SABMiller plc
t: +44 20 7659 0172

George Smeeton
Senior press officer, WWF-UK
T: +44 1483 412 388
M: +44 7917 052 94

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