AB InBev teams up with WWF to champion supply chain water stewardship
The world's largest brewer has launched new partnerships with WWF and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in a bid to accelerate water security initiatives in water-stressed areas around the world.
The first phase of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (AB InBev) partnership with TNC will see the organisations collaborate to launch a series of four new Water Funds in Colombia, El Salvador, Argentina and Mexico. These Funds will be used to unite water catchment stakeholders in developing nature-based solutions and sustainable watershed management models.
It is hoped that the move will help to bolster the climate resilience of catchments while creating jobs for local people.
Meanwhile, AB InBev will work with WWF to develop “blended finance” approaches to catchment management in Bolivia and Africa.
Such approaches will encourage private sector catchment stakeholders to make investments at the scale necessary to improve water access and quality while safeguarding the condition of river basins, according to AB InBev’s global director of water sustainability Andre Fourie.
“The time to take action on global water security is now,” Fourie said. “More than just a key ingredient in our beer, water is a critical resource for the economic, social and environmental well-being of the countries where we operate and the communities where we live.”
Fourie’s comments echo the findings of recent research by the CDP, which revealed that 63% of cities see future risks relating to water supply – many of which will be exacerbated by climate change. Almost 85% of cities in Asia and Oceania are concerned about “serious risks”, and these concerns only fall slightly in Africa (80%) and Latin America (75%).
Commenting on the new initiatives, WWF’s lead for freshwater practice Stuart Orr said: “We will never achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without harnessing the power of partnerships: AB InBev’s work with WWF and TNC is a great example of how to do this.
“AB InBev has been at the forefront of water stewardship over the past decade, assessing water risks to [its] operations, setting targets and engaging beyond the factory fence. Our new partnership will drive even greater collective action that will benefit economies and ecosystems.”
Operating in more than 50 countries, AB InBev was one of 74 companies placed on CDP’s A-list for water reporting last year, and the company has reduced water use to 3.09hl/hl on average across more than 200 breweries.
By 2025, it is envisioned that AB InBev’s average will fall to 2.8 hl/hl. In fact, AB InBev has recorded water savings of 20 billion litres in five years, enough to fill more than 7,800 Olympic swimming pools.
The company has previously collaborated with WWF to conduct a string of water risk assessments across Africa, and through its Stella Artois brand, is involved in the “Buy a Lady a Drink” programme in partnership with Water.org.
The partnership aims to tackle the global water crisis and has provided clean water to nearly 800,000 people in developing regions. It has since been extended to provide for 3.5 million people by 2020.
edie recently rounded up seven ways that the business community is progressing water stewardship efforts worldwide. Read that article in full here.