Heineken partners with UNIDO to tackle water scarcity in developing markets

International brewer Heineken is teaming up with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to accelerate the deployment of water stewardship initiatives in countries and regions classified as 'water-scarce'.

The new partnership will help Heineken in the delivery of its commitment to reduce water consumption to 3.3 hectolitres (hl) of water per hl of product in breweries located in Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Tunisia.

The two organisations will also now carry out feasibility studies on potential renewable energy sources to cut costs and improve the environmental impact of Heineken’s African breweries. The company will also examine the potential to provide excess energy to local communities in which it operates.

Ambitious goals

Heineken’s chief corporate relations officer Sean O’Neill said: “This international partnership with UNIDO will help us deliver the commitments that lie at the heart of our Brewing a Better World philosophy. More important, it supports our desire to create an approach to inclusive growth across all of our stakeholders.”

UNIDO’s director general LI Yong added: “We look forward to working with Heineken to transform the ambitious goals that we have jointly set into concrete actions. Ultimately, we want to improve the lives of people in developing countries and make a meaningful contribution to inclusive and sustainable development while, at the same time, creating flourishing markets that foster business opportunities.”

Heineken also plans to use this partnership to expand its Supplier Development Programme to more countries in Africa. The brewer has committed to sourcing 60% of its raw materials locally and thereby improve the livelihoods of local communities. It currently runs initiatives in nine countries covering more than 100,000 farmer families across the continent.

Better Future

The group’s long-term approach to sustainability constitutes one of its key operational priorities for business. Brewing a Better Future focuses on the key aims of protecting water resources, reducing CO2 emissions, sourcing sustainably and advocating responsible consumption, growing with communities and promoting health and safety.

Last September, edie reported that Heineken had become the first major brewer in the UK to implement a large-scale solar panel installation on the roof of John Smith’s Brewery in Tadcaster. Four thousand solar panels generate more than 876MWh of electricity each year, used to power the brewery’s bottling and canning departments. Heineken has set itself the target of reducing emissions from production worldwide by 40% by 2020.

Lucinda Dann

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