Water is a key ingredient in all of our products and a scarce resource in many parts of the world.
Water resource challenges are increasingly magnified by climate pressures, inadequate infrastructure and poor governance. Supplies of readily available fresh water are finite and in many watersheds quality is declining. Left unmanaged, water risks negatively impact livelihoods resulting in significant missed opportunities for our communities. And as a brewer, water is critical for us. Without water, there is no beer.
We have the opportunity to use our scale and expertise to ensure a reliable, clean supply of water - managed and used as efficiently as possible - and to address the global water crisis, one of the most pressing issues of our time.
We are dedicated to enhancing water access and security for people across our markets through watershed protection and water access programs, and by mobilizing a global movement for water access through our brands.
Our water use
From start to finish, water plays a critical role in the brewing process and is the main ingredient in our beer. In addition to being absolutely vital for our agricultural inputs, it is an essential resource for the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the communities where we live and work. Parts of our agricultural supply chain, as well as our some of our plants, are located in water-stressed regions.
More than 90% of the water we use goes into growing barley and other agricultural inputs for our beers.
So we focus on squeezing every last drop from our production: helping our barley growers use enhanced irrigation technology and drought-resistant seeds to grow more barley with less water, increasing our water use efficiency inside our operations, – providing our effluent (repurposed water) for community needs, and working with global and local stakeholders to improve water management and ecosystem conditions at the watershed level.
As a signatory to the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate, we have integrated the Mandate's six core elements in our approach to water management: direct operations, supply chain and watershed management, collective action, public policy, community engagement and transparency.
And we are constantly assessing our water risk. Updating our water risk assessments for our breweries and other facilities annually. We do this by first applying the World Resources Institute's (WRI) Aqueduct tool, a globally recognized water-risk assessment tool. If the tool indicates that a facility may be at risk, we look deeper into that facility, covering areas of physical, regulatory and reputation risk using our own custom-designed assessment tool. Action plans to manage and reduce risks are created for all at-risk facilities.
We know we cannot solve the global water crisis alone, and advancing global dialogue and identifying alternative sources of financing can parlay the growing awareness of the shared risk into coordinated efforts and greater positive impact. This is why transformative partnerships with NGOs, local governments, other water users and academics will continue to be at the heart of our water stewardship efforts.
Stella Artois and Water.org Buy a Lady a Drink
Today, 663 million people around the world lack access to safe, clean water. This crisis disproportionately affects women in the developing world, who spend millions of hours a day collecting water for their families. So, in 2015, Stella Artois launched a campaign called Buy A Lady A Drink, in partnership with Water.org, to help create a global movement to end the global water crisis.
Keeping South Africa’s taps running
South Africa is water-stressed; it is currently ranked as the 30th driest country in the world. In addition, the country’s water infrastructure struggles to meet the demand of a historically underserviced population. Our team in South Africa has been one of the driving forces behind a government-backed, multi-stakeholder initiative whose goal is to stop South Africa from going thirsty in the coming decades.
Watershed protection: the CYAN movement
We know that water conservation is important to ensure the long-term sustainability of our business and communities. So, to drive social change and start conversations about water conservation, we launched the CYAN movement, helping bring awareness to the issue, preserving and recuperating our watersheds, and educating and engaging with impacted communities.