As the world largest brewer, we are deeply connected to the communities where we live and work. That is why this summer in Belgium we are donating purified water from the breweries of Stella Artois and Hoegaarden to farmers. Belgian groundwater reserves are currently low, and despite rainfall in recent weeks, water is still scarce. Because water is an indispensable good for agriculture and food supply, we will be donating purified brewery water - residual water from brewing and other processes - to farmers in the months of July and August.
No water, no beer
There's no question: without water, the number one ingredient in our products, our company would not survive. Every day our teams are taking steps to address pressing water challenges and make measurable improvements in water quality and availability in the communities where we operate facing water stress. You can read more about how we partner with local authorities, other water users, and like-minded organizations around the world to make a meaningful difference here.
We constantly keep water consumption during the brewing process as low as possible to give used water a second life. For several years, we have been donating purified brewery water to the Leuven Green Service in Belgium for flowers, plants and trees during the summer. Due to the high demand for water and the impact of the drought on agriculture, we have decided to expand our commitment even more in the coming months. As of July 1, farmers will be able to collect the water from the Stella Artois and Hoegaarden breweries every day with their tanker trucks and use it to irrigate their fields. In total, 20 million liters of water will be available for the agricultural sector.
Farmers, neighbors and beer
We are working with the farmers' association Boerenbond to make collection logistics possible. "In response to water scarcity, the agricultural sector and Boerenbond have already taken various initiatives to stimulate economical water use such as water buffering, drip irrigation and improving soil quality ... and also constructive partnerships such as with AB InBev are good examples of smart and efficient water management that will ultimately benefit everyone", says Boerenbond chairman Sonja De Becker. Boerenbond will facilitate the collection through contact with its members.
With the help of Fevia Vlaanderen, the federation of the Flemish food industry, we were able to obtain the necessary permits from the Flemish government to move forward with the plan quickly. It is our ambition to be able to collect the water in the Jupiler brewery near Liège as well, and we are in discussion with the Walloon authorities to obtain the necessary permits there as well.
Pascaline Van de Perre, our CSR manager in Belgium, explained that "[a]s the world's largest beer brewer, we take our responsibility and help where we can. That's why we have arranged all the necessary permits as soon as possible and have quickly put them in place so that farmers can use our water as soon as possible. Our breweries are very excited to contribute to the solution to the drought problem.”