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Making more beer but using less water



The Water Futures partnership, established in 2009 to protect watersheds and boost groundwater levels, covers local projects in eight countries (Colombia, Honduras, India, Peru, South Africa, Tanzania, the USA and Zambia).

To open up the knowledge, experience and benefits of the partnership to more participants, we have agreed to scale it up into a broader Water Futures initiative (WFI). This will expand our reach, increase our global network of local partnerships and encourage new partners to join us in collaborative action.

Understanding water risk

This year we launched a new facility-level water risk assessment tool, which has been developed to protect our business operations from the potential effects of water scarcity. The tool has been piloted in six countries around the world and evaluates potential water-related impacts such as changes in the quantity or quality of our water sources on our operations and local communities. The results help us to set up a long-term mitigation plan and to track the usefulness of our mitigation efforts.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

At SABMiller, we're committed to making more beer using less water. Between 2008 and 2015, we've set ourselves the challenging target of reducing our water use by 25% per hectolitre of lager. This reduction will save around 20 billion litres of water every year, enough to fill 8,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

In 2013 we used 667 million hectolitres (hl) of water, which equates to 3.7 hl/hl of beer produced, an 8% improvement from 2012. Our most efficient breweries now have efficiencies below 3 hl/hl, including those in Australia, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Poland.

Absolute water use cut by 16% between 2008 and 2013 despite volume growth.

The equivalent water consumption figure for soft drinks is 2 hectolitres of water per hectolitre of soft drink, a decrease from 2.2 last year. While this is significantly lower than the figure for beer consumption, direct comparisons are difficult to draw because of the different processes employed to produce each product.

Watch the animation below to see how water is being managed in our breweries using the ‘5R’ water model.




Two boys at a water pump Through our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) activities we seek to provide local communities with clean water or to treat waste water so it can be used for irrigation or other purposes. We currently have active programmes in India, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda, providing access to water and supporting local farmers and crop irrigation. Our business in Ghana has built a mechanised borehole for the local community in Accra.

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High standards of ethical behaviour and transparency underpin all that we do. We therefore place a high value on reporting and communicating in an open and honest way with all our stakeholders

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