Just happened upon this article from reuters.com stating that macrobrewer SABMiller is slowly cutting the amount of water they use to make their beer.
There’s a joke in here somewhere.
Ok, ok, beer snobbery and distaste for many of the watered-down SABMiller offerings aside, the big brewer is actually attempting to do a good thing here. In a word? Sustainability.
As SABMiller states, “The scarcity and availability of water represent a potentially significant risk to parts of our business, as well as to some of the communities in which we operate.”
Their goal to reduce consumption of water is a rather formidable one. By 2015, SABMiller shoots to cut water consumption 25% below that used in 2008. So far they’ve already cut water by 8%. After researching water footprints in places they operate that fall under high risk for water stress, they found some differing results: in Peru, SABMiller uses 61 liters of water to make just 1 liter of beer and in Tanzania, a staggering 180 liters of water is used to brew just 1 liter of beer.
It probably goes without saying that the water overconsumption risk has become one of SABMiller’s 10 sustainability priorities. Those priorities, in order, are:
1. Discouraging irresponsible and/or binge drinking
2. Using less water while making more beer
3. Reducing energy and their carbon footprint overall
4. Reusing and recycling packaging materials
5. Efforts toward zero-waste operations
6. Encouraging enterprise development
7. Benefiting communities
8. Contributing to the fight against HIV/AIDS
9. Human rights
10. Transparency and ethics
Sounds like SABMiller has quite a bit on their plate over the next ten years and beyond. We wish the big brewer the best of luck in hitting and even exceeding these ambitious goals and hope that other macrobrewers might take steps in the same direction.