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SABMiller to cut water use by a quarter

13 November 2008

SABMiller to cut water use by a quarter

SABMiller, one of the world's leading brewers, today announces a major new commitment to reduce water consumption across its global operations.

The group has set itself the demanding target of reducing water use per litre of beer by 25% by 2015. This initiative will save around 20 billion litres of water every year by 2015 - enough to fill eight thousand Olympic-sized swimming pools. 

"In an increasingly water constrained world it is critical that we become as efficient as possible, whilst working with communities to protect water resources", SABMiller CEO Graham Mackay said, "This is an extremely challenging, but achievable target, and sets a new industry benchmark."

By 2015 SABMiller aims to reduce its water consumption to an average of 3.5 litres used to make a litre of beer. In 2008 this figure was 4.6 litres; the industry average is 5 litres.

SABMiller's industry-leading stance on water is further cemented by a recent water-footprinting project by its South African subsidiary SAB Ltd. The work, undertaken with strategic advice from WWF, identifies not only how much water is used at each stage of the value chain, but goes further to calculate the proportion of available local water resources that this represents. This enables SAB's full time agronomists to focus their efforts on engaging with farmers who need to become more water efficient. SABMiller is one of the first companies to conduct such a footprinting exercise.

Stuart Orr, WWF-UK Water Expert, commented that; "SABMiller is to be commended for its commitment to reduce by 25% water use in its breweries and for its developing programme of work to address its entire Water Footprint, from raw materials to end consumption". Orr added, "In addressing water issues in its supply chain, SABMiller demonstrates the leadership and type of action needed from business to address water scarcity and pollution issues that pose substantial risks to the health of billions of people and ecosystems worldwide. This commitment raises the bar significantly for other companies."

SABMiller has adopted a new ‘5 R' model of water responsibility, developed by SABMiller India, to galvanise global operations around the new water strategy. "Many people will be familiar with the 3 R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," explains Andy Wales, SABMiller's Head of Sustainable Development,  "but we have added pRotect and Redistribute which, for us, creates a more complete picture of the cycle."

pRotect - Influence farmers to ensure responsible water use and understand the watersheds we operate breweries and bottling plants within
Reduce - Change attitudes and behaviour to reduce water consumption within our plants
Reuse - Collect waste water streams within facilities and re-use appropriately
Recycle - Investigate new technologies to recycle water for appropriate use within the plant
Redistribute - Provide local communities with clean water through community investment programmes and treat waste water so it can be used for irrigation or other purposes.

SABMiller is a founding signatory of the CEO Water Mandate, a United Nations initiative which is designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability policies and practices.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

SABMiller & Water

SABMiller was a founding signatory of the UN CEO Water Mandate in July 2007, along with Coca Cola, Nestle and Levi Strauss. Signatories commit to leadership in direct operations, supply chain and watershed management, collective action, public policy and transparency. Further information on the UN CEO Water Mandate can can be found at

More information on SABMiller's work on water can be found at


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 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 2008, the group reported US$3,639 million in adjusted pre-tax profit and revenue of US$21,410 million.  SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

This announcement is available on the company website:

High resolution images are available for the media to view and download free of charge from or

Bianca Shevlin
Corporate Media Relations Manager
SABMiller plc
Tel: +44 20 7659 0172

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