SABMiller and WWF publish data on water scarcity and business risk
8 September 2010
SABMiller, one of the world's largest brewers, and leading global environment organization WWF, have published the latest results of their Water Futures Partnership. The report highlights the immediate water risks impacting both SABMiller's operations and river habitats in a number of countries and the necessary actions to manage the long term problems.
The report, which mapped water footprints in Peru, Tanzania, Ukraine and South Africa, identifies the critical water challenges in each country and how they impact on SABMiller's operations. For example in Ukraine, water scarcity will be exacerbated by climate change, whilst areas such as the Donetsk region suffer wide-scale pollution of rivers and aquifers due to mining and steel manufacture. Climate change and the reliance on glaciers for water supply are impacting on water availability in Peru, and the over-use of agrochemicals has resulted in the pollution of irrigation channels and surface water bodies.
Andy Wales, SABMiller's global head of sustainable development said: "Faced with climate change, inadequate infrastructure and population growth, business cannot respond to these challenges alone. It is critical that a collaborative approach is taken and in a way which attracts the support of all relevant stakeholders."
The partnership, which also includes German development agency GTZ, has been operational for nearly a year during which time detailed research has been carried out into the water footprints of SABMiller's value chains, the long term challenges in the different regions and the current and future action required to address them.
Dave Tickner, WWF's Head of Freshwater Programmes called for greater collaboration: "It is vital that businesses, governments and NGOs acknowledge that the risks around watersheds are shared and the responsibility must be shared too. We hope that the Water Futures Partnership will serve as a catalyst for change, by inspiring others act to protect ecosystems and, in doing so, secure global water supplies."
In each country, over 90% of water used in the production of SABMiller's brands relates to the cultivation of the raw materials such as hops and barley. However the water used in agriculture varies from around 150 litres per litre of beer in South Africa, to 55 litres in Peru. This difference is largely the result of the variation in climates, leading to different water needs for the crops.
Workshops have been held in all of the countries with NGOs, government representatives, local businesses and other stakeholders to begin developing detailed watershed protection programmes. It is the translation of this theory into practice that will make a change in those communities that need it most. This will be the next challenge for the Water Futures partnership.
Water footprints by country
Backus, SABMiller's Peruvian subsidiary and brewer of brands such as Cusquena has a total water footprint of 61 litres of water to every litre of beer. Within the brewing operations, Backus uses 4.3 litres of water to every litre of beer, a figure which has improved 7% since 2008.
Throughout the value chain it takes 180 litres of water to produce one litre of beers such as Kilimanjaro and Safari in Tanzania. Since 2008 water efficiency in the brewing operations has improved by 11%, and now stands at 6.5 litres of water to each litre of beer.
SABMiller's Ukrainian business, Sarmat, has a total value chain water footprint of 61 litres of water to each litre of beer of which 6.9 litres are used within the brewery. As the business was only acquired by SABMiller in 2008, there are no comparable efficiency figures to measure improvement
A total of 155 litres is used in the value chain in South Africa to produce 1 litre of beer, indicating no substantial changes from the original study. In its breweries SAB Ltd uses 4.1 litres of water to each litre of beer, an improvement of 8% since 2008.
Notes to editors
SABMiller plc 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 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 2010, the group reported US$3,803 million adjusted pre-tax profit and group revenue
of US$26,350 million. SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.
Ten Priorities. One Future. Through our Ten Priorities for sustainable development, SABMiller will make
a difference both locally and globally to enhance the One Future that we all share. A robust
approach to sustainable development underpins our ability to grow and our licence to operate. Furthermore a well-
managed growing business is good for wider economic development, leading to greater employment and investment in local economies and communities.
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 www.wwf.org.uk/oneplanet