Parent company to brands Jack Daniels, Finlandia and Southern Comfort, Brown-Forman has cut water consumption from 878 million gallons in 2011 to 848 million gallons in 2012.

However, the company’s water use has increased from its 2009 baseline by 14%, or 105 million gallons.

This increase has highlighted areas within the business that need evaluating as the company acknowledges it needs faster progress in its wastewater reduction efforts to meet targets.

The company’s CEO Paul Varga commented on some of the company’s achievements and its need to focus on wastewater reduction.

“This year we report for the first time against the Environmental Sustainability Roadmap goals and targets established in our last report,” said Varga.

“Despite a three-year increase in overall production driven by increased demand, we have seen improvements in energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of product. While pleased with this progress, we need to progress faster in our wastewater reduction efforts to meet our targets,” he added.

Using water during production for cooling, washing, and irrigation, the company has set an ambitious 2020 goal to reduce wastewater generated from these processes by 30% per unit.

It has identified three major wastewater discharge locations within its operations, and is working to decrease the amount of wastewater created at these sites.

“We’ve increased our water reuse capability, which reduces fresh water usage in certain applications (like cooling or pollution control) by replacing it with water reused from another application” the report states.

The company has also completed its second water risk assessment using the Global Water Tool from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and conducted the Water Risk Filter from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, which has allowed it to identify its operations and co-packers that are located in high-risk or water-stressed areas.

In addition to cutting water use, Brown-Forman cut its GHG emissions by 12.3% in 2012 from 2011 and reduced its energy consumption by 2.9%.

Leigh Stringer

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