20 June 2013
Targets and reporting aren’t always universally fascinating but, in the next few hundred words, I hope to convince you that they do matter, that they are important and that they can be really exciting.
In 2008 we were one of the first global brewers to set a water efficiency target – to reduce our water-to-beer usage from 4.6 litres of water per litre of beer, to 3.5 litres by 2015.
We knew it was a challenge, but that’s the point. As a business, targets such as this have to go beyond that which we believe to be immediately achievable. That said, targets also need to be economically realistic, taking into account potential costs and payback.
When we publish our Sustainable Development Summary Report next week, our progress on water efficiency is one of the highlights. Not only have we cut our relative water use – getting down to 3.7 litres of water per litre of beer – we’ve also reduced our absolute water use. In the year to 31 March 2013, despite producing a lot more beer we’ve used 3.9 billion fewer litres. That’s enough to fill around 14.5 million bathtubs.
The same applies to our carbon targets. In 2009 we pledged that, by 2020, we would reduce the fossil fuel emissions resulting from the production of our beers by 50% per litre of beer. Again, not only has our efficiency improved – we produced 10% less carbon emissions per litre of beer – our absolute carbon emissions also dropped. This means that, since 2008, we have reduced absolute carbon emissions by 26%.
As we have found in the last five years, targets can be a powerful motivator internally. Our technical teams and brewers have risen to the challenge and galvanised efforts to achieve and, where possible beat, the targets.
If you’re interested in finding out some of things that we’ve done to deliver these results, I’d highly recommend reading our Sustainable Development Report – the contents are more exciting than the title might suggest.