By 2050, demand for resources is set to increase significantly as the global population grows to nine billion and becomes more prosperous, so requiring more food, water and energy to meet its needs.
Global economic growth is being driven largely by emerging markets. Over the medium term, the World Bank estimates economic growth of 6% in developing countries compared to 2.7% in higher-income countries.
But this growth could be jeopardised by the resource challenge being felt across the world. The expanding population will need 70% more food, and growing and processing this food will increase water stress. The Water Resources Group, of which SABMiller is a member, estimates that there could be a 40% shortfall between water demand and available freshwater supply by 2030. At the same time, the systems that sustain us all will be affected by climate change.
As water scarcity becomes more apparent, then so do the risks we potentially face – not least competition for resources, higher costs, the effect on water quality, and the possibility that water shortages will limit production. These risks are often shared with the community around us.
Why this is a priority
The scarcity and availability of water represent a potentially significant risk to parts of our business, as well as to some of the communities in which we operate. We aim to work collaboratively to protect the watersheds that we share with local communities and on which we and they depend.
Within our breweries, 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 by 25% between 2008 and 2015.
On its own, resource efficiency within our operations is not enough to safeguard the resources we need for our businesses. We are using of understanding of risk, our global scale and existing relationships with stakeholders, particularly governments and NGOs, to mobilise partnerships to improve our understanding of the shared water challenges we face, enabling us to make better management decisions and provide a platform to share knowledge.
Water Futures Report: Beyond 2012
The report highlights the latest achievements of the Water Futures Partnership and explains its plans for the future.
Charting our Water Future
Report from the 2030 Water Resource Group, of which SABMiller is a member, exploring how water scarcity risks may be mitigated.