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Making more beer but using less water


Water is a vital resource not only in the brewing process but also to grow the crops used to make beer and even to generate electricity to power our breweries. Water scarcity represents a potentially significant risk to parts of our business.

More about the issues

Our response

We aim to use water as efficiently as possible and have set ourselves the demanding target of reducing our water use per hectolitre of lager produced by 25% between 2008 and 2015. During the last year, we used 3.7 hectolitres of water to produce one hectolitre of lager.

We use the '5Rs' – pRotect, Reduce, Re-use, Recycle and Redistribute – to manage water upstream, downstream and within our operations.

In areas where water security presents a potential challenge to our business, we are taking a leading role in creating partnerships to address the issue – one example being the Strategic Water Partners Network in South Africa.

More on our response

How we're performing

Level assessment score


Chart: Level assessment score: 2010 - 2.1; 2011 - 2.5; 2012 - 2.6; 2013 - 2.8 More on our performance

Water to beer ratio

(hl water/hl beer)

Chart: Water to Beer Ratio: 2009 - 4.5; 2010 - 4.3; 2011 - 4.2; 2012 - 4.0; 2013 - 3.7
Views from our stakeholders

'SAB has taken great strides towards water stewardship since our cooperation kicked off three years ago. It is encouraging to see the continued focus on improving internal water efficiency in the breweries and in the supply chain.'

Christine Colvin
Senior Manager, Freshwater Programmes WWF-SA

More comments and opinions
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