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Our priorities in action

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Our priorities: Water

'Better barley, better beer'

SAB (Pty) Ltd

Research in South Africa has shown that the biggest component of our beer’s water footprint is agriculture.

At SAB (Pty) Ltd, we are working in partnership with WWF to improve the sustainability of barley farming through our “Better Barley, Better Beer” framework. Barley farmers are encouraged to use this sustainable agriculture framework to ensure that their farming operations are resilient and looks at all aspects of farming; from minimising the impact on the environment and the use of scarce resources such as water, through to the management of their labour and finances.

Watering machine

Working closely with small-scale farmers in Taung, we are advocating for optimal irrigation through the measurement of soil moisture, leak detection, irrigation scheduling and the breeding of drought-resistant barley. We hope that these initiatives will help producers improve their sustainability and reduce costs by cutting out unnecessary irrigation water and electricity, as well as increasing yield, straw-strength, quality and ultimately, the profitability of barley.

Through our Water Futures partnership, we are also working to improve the sustainability of our hop production in George. Partnering with GIZ (the German international development agency), WWF and CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), we have undertaken a water-risk assessment which analysed different future water supply scenarios (e.g. hydrology, climate change, socio-economic change, agronomics).  We are now working with local stakeholders to develop appropriate response strategies in the area such as improving on-farm irrigation practices, restoring ecological systems through invasive alien plant clearing and strengthening water governance in the locality.

Andre Fourie – Head of Sustainable Development, SAB (Pty) Ltd

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