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Water Futures partnership; SABMiller and WWF announce major global partnership on water risk

18 November 2009

SABMiller and WWF today launched the Water Futures partnership, designed to tackle water scarcity in a number of its key operating countries.

The partnership builds on existing best practice undertaken by SABMiller and WWF in Colombia, Honduras and El Salvador and will build a detailed understanding of the risks posed by the predicted water stress in Peru, Tanzania, South Africa and Ukraine. Methodologies will then be developed to help mitigate this risk.

The partnership will examine groundbreaking approaches to water management. These will include: -

  • A robust supply-chain engagement strategy based on clear insights into both the business and conservation water risks throughout the value chain, identifying risk hotspots.
  • Delivery of measurable conservation impacts through improved policy for, and management of, freshwater ecosystems.
  • Sharing of best practice between SABMiller operating countries to provide technical support on common issues and enable knowledge exchange.
  • Sharing of lessons with other stakeholders at the global level with a view to promoting better management of water across the world

Graham Mackay, SABMiller's CEO laid out the challenge that the partnership seeks to answer:

"Water is neither consistently well managed nor appropriately valued globally. This has led to a crucial shared resource becoming a shared risk for governments, businesses and populations worldwide across many areas of the world. If this situation doesn't change then conflicts over water rights are inevitable. We believe that collaboration between business, governments and NGOs is the only way to tackle this. We want our pioneering partnership with WWF to serve as a catalyst for change, by inspiring others to step up and act to secure global water supplies.

The risks to business are connected to the quality, cost and availability of water. But business does not face these risks alone and nor can it challenge them alone."

WWF's Dave Tickner continues: "All water users, from small business and governments, to communities must decide collectively how to minimise the risk of water scarcity and how best to balance the needs of domestic, industrial and agricultural consumption to ensure security of supply and the maintenance of ecosystems."

SABMiller and WWF are joined in the partnership by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), a German agency for technical cooperation acting on behalf of the Federal German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, which seeks to provide solutions for political, economic, ecological and social development.

Ellen Kallinowsky of GTZ says that they wanted to work with organisations that already have a strong track record in managing water issues: "this partnership builds on SABMiller's leadership but can only succeed if relevant stakeholders actively engage. The mobilisation of other partners will be the true challenge - and hopefully achievement - of the project."

WWF, SABMiller and GTZ conclude with a joint call to action to other NGO's, businesses and governments: -

"It is vital that businesses, governments and NGOs acknowledge that the risks around watersheds are shared and the responsibility must be shared too. Collaboration is the only option if we're serious about water security, so we are calling on NGOs, governments and business in all areas facing water stress to replicate this partnership and work together to tackle this issue."

 - Ends -

Supporting information:

Case study Honduras:

In Honduras, SABMiller's subsidiary Cervecería Hondureña has joined forces with WWF to develop a series of joint projects aimed at reducing its water and energy consumption. One of these projects involves working with the farmers who supply sugar cane to our sugar mill which produces the sugar that we use in our Coca Cola plant to help them develop more cost effective and sustainable farming practices. Through the optimisation of areas such as water use, fertiliser application and pesticide application, the farmers can increase efficiency and productivity of their land, whilst at the same time making their agricultural practices more environmentally sustainable.


Andy Wales, SABMiller head of sustainable development

Dave Tickner, WWF Freshwater director

Ellen Kallinowsky, GTZ Regional Coordinator for the Coooperation with the Private Sector Africa


Notes to editors:

SABMiller is one of the world's largest brewers with brewing interests and distribution agreements across six continents. The group's wide portfolio of brands includes premium international beers such as Grolsch, Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, as well as market-leading local brands such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie. SABMiller is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.

In the year ended 31 March 2009, the group reported US$3,405 million in adjusted pre-tax profit and group revenue of US$25,302 million. SABMiller is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

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The way we live is leading to environmental threats such as climate change, species extinction, deforestation, water shortages and the collapse of fisheries. WWF's One Planet Future Campaign is working to help people live a good quality of life within the earth's capacity. For more information visit


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for Technical Cooperation) is an international cooperation enterprise for sustainable development with worldwide operations. It provides solutions for political, economic, ecological and social development in a globalised world. Its corporate objective is to improve people's living conditions on a sustainable basis.



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

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