This year, we celebrate World Water Day in the context of a global health crisis that’s testing the resilience of communities around the world. Now more than ever, it is important that we come together to work on solutions that will benefit our communities and our people—today and for the next 100+ years.
There’s no question: without water, the number one ingredient in our products, our company would not survive. Simply put - no water, no beer. Moreover, without water the communities where we live and work would suffer—water is critical for people and economies to thrive.
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 by 2025. However, the scale of the global water challenge is bigger than us. As the United Nations makes clear this World Water Day, water and climate change are closely linked—climate change is impacting the availability and quality of water around the world. Indeed, a number of the communities where we operate already are feeling the impact.
Bringing people together is essential to solving these issues, so we partner with local authorities, other water users, and like-minded organizations to make a meaningful difference. Here’s how.
Pursuing best-in-class water efficiency
We aim to brew our beers at the highest level of water efficiency and have set ambitious water efficiency targets across our business, with even more ambitious goals for our breweries located in communities facing high water stress.
For years, our breweries have been improving processes and introducing innovative technologies to reduce our per hectoliter (hl) water use. For example, at our Bucaramanga brewery in Colombia we tested a green replacement for caustic soda used in the industrial cleaning process, developed by EWTech, one of our 100+ Accelerator start-ups. The pilot test showed a 70% reduction in water usage versus traditional disinfecting chemicals, and we are now rolling out the technology to 16 of our breweries across Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. Through innovations like this and others, we improved our water use efficiency to 2.8 hl/hl last year.
Engaging consumers through our brands
We are including our consumers in our water stewardship efforts. Following the successful launch of AMA water brand in Brazil, which donates 100% of its profits to projects that bring drinking water to poverty-stricken communities, we launched Zalva, a water brand whose proceeds are used to protect the high Andean wetlands that serve as critical ecosystems for Colombia’s water sources.
Stella Artois also continued its partnership with Water.org, providing clean water access for another half a million people in 2019, driven by the highly successful “Change Up The Usual” campaign launched in the United States during the Super Bowl.
Partnering to help communities most in need
We’re working to restore watersheds and achieve measurable improvements in water availability and quality in our communities facing water stress. All of our sites in these locations have conducted local outreach and identified potential solutions, with 67% already taking action on their plans.
But we know the global water challenge is bigger than any individual organization and we cannot do this work alone. We continue to partner with The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund to further green infrastructure initiatives, conservation and reforestation projects, habitat restoration efforts, and improve water infrastructure to achieve measurable impact at scale.
We are also collaborating with peer companies to scale our impact even further. Today at the United Nations, the CEO Water Mandate, an initiative of the UN Global Compact, announced the launch of the Water Resilience Coalition, an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative that aims to elevate global water stress to the top of the corporate agenda and preserve the world’s freshwater resources through collective action in water-stressed basins. We joined the Coalition as a co-founder along with Diageo, Dow, Ecolab, Gap Inc., Microsoft and PVH.
We are proud of our progress and look forward to what’s to come, so together we can build resilient watersheds and thriving communities for the next 100 years and beyond.