This year, World Water Week comes as we witness devastating flooding, wildfires and increasing drought in regions across the world, creating serious impacts on the global water supply. As the planet continues to feel the effects of climate change, the issue of water security is a growing challenge—and investing in improvements to watershed health is more critical than ever.
In 2019, 6,000 hectares of the Mendoza River basin in Argentina — home to AB InBev brewer Cervecería y Maltería Quilmes — were devastated by severe wildfires. The most important irrigation area in western Argentina, the Mendoza River basin is essential to the water supply of more than one million people in the Mendoza Province.
Water is one of the most important resources to guarantee life on our planet and it is also the number one ingredient in AB InBev products. It drives the local economies we operate in and ensures that the communities we serve can thrive. Guided by this long-standing commitment to water stewardship, on World Water Day 2021, Cervecería y Maltería Quilmes launched Sumá Nativas, a nature-based project to restore 150 hectares of the Mendoza River basin and help ensure safe access to water.
"Working together we can restore what was destroyed."
Go behind the scenes of the Sumá Nativas watershed project in Argentina
Sumá Nativas aims to restore fire-damaged areas through revegetation with native plants, as well as contribute to local economic development by producing and commercializing native species via community-run nurseries. It also promotes equitable development in the region by supporting women's participation and leadership in the program. Sumá Nativas is the result of collaborative partnerships with The Nature Conservancy; Cricyt Foundation; The Argentine Dryland Research Institute; The Argentine Institute of Nivology, Glaciology and Environmental Sciences; as well as the city of Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza.
“Protecting watersheds is an important part of our water conservation efforts in Argentina, which includes improving efficiency and access to water,” says Vanesa Vázquez, Manager of Inclusive Growth at Cervecería y Maltería Quilmes. “Together with our partners, we're working to restore the river basin to contribute to improving the quality of and access to water for all Mendoza.”
This summer, Cervecería y Maltería Quilmes leveraged the power of its consumer connections around the world to further expand the impact of Sumá Nativas. On World Environment Day, a solidarity campaign was launched, inviting people to donate seedlings to reforest even more hectares of fire-damaged area, with Cervecería y Maltería Quilmes matching the value of every seedling donated.
Beyond its significant impact on the ground in Argentina, this exciting project is driving progress toward AB InBev's global water stewardship goal. Our goal is that by 2025, 100% of our communities in high stress areas will have measurably improved water availability and quality. Continued innovation toward this goal will ensure the long-term resiliency of our business, our communities and the ecosystems we depend on.