Anheuser-Busch Pushes Ahead With Water Conservation Efforts
Beer giant Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser, Bud Light) is spearheading efforts to improve water efficiency in the brewing industry. On World Water Day (March 22) it launched its “Water for a Better World” campaign to enhance awareness of water scarcity, one of the main environmental challenges of the 21st century.
The campaign goes on until World Environment Day on June 5 and promotes water conservation across Anheuser-Busch’s facilities. it is also designed to involve employees in environmental protection efforts and improve access to clean water through community-based watershed protection projects and water donations to key NGOs.
As far as the beer-making process goes, what can be done to improve water efficiency? "From seed to sip, water is a vital ingredient in our brewing process and our products. We use water treatment technology and a four-step process to reuse reclaimed water in our utility operations such as cooling and refrigeration. Our facilities across the United States and Canada also benchmark water usage in packaging and brewing areas and share best practices on reducing water consumption," Katja Zastrow, VP of corporate social responsibility at Better World, tells Just Means.
She adds the company also encourages employees on the ground to submit innovative ideas to conserve water at their local facility. "We will implement ideas that are proven to be effective in cutting water use across all of our other breweries. As a result of our efforts, we have reduced our water use by nearly 50% across U.S. facilities over the past 10 years," she says.
During the current campaign, Stella Artois is partnering with Water.org on the Buy A Lady A Drink campaign to sell limited edition chalices. The company is pledging to provide five years of clean water for one person in the developing world for every chalice sold. Through this partnership, Stella Artois has already donated more than $3 million to the NGO to give more than 800,000 people access to drinking water.
Anheuser-Busch is also partnering with River Network to host more than 20 river and watershed protection projects for its employees and strategic partners across the country leading up to World Environment Day. Since 2010, the partnership has engaged nearly 10,000 local employee volunteers and community members in more than 130 watershed protection clean-ups.
Looking forward, the company is also going beyond the confines of its operations, and collaborating with barley growers to increase their water efficiency, without compromising yield and producing high-quality barley, through smart-irrigation practices and innovative technology.
By the end of this year, it plans to cut its water use to 2.98 hectoliters of water per hectoliter of production across North America. "We will continue to implement water conservation measures within our facilities and work with our strategic partners to identify opportunities to cut water use in our operations," says Zastrow.
Image credit: Anheuser-Busch