Protecting Water Resources

Protecting Water Resources

Why is this important?

Global demand for water has doubled during the past 50 years and is expected to increase by another 40% by 2030. In water-scarce areas this may result in increased competition for water among industry, the general population, agriculture and ecosystems.

We use water in our finished product – beer is 95% water – and throughout our supply chain, including in the maintenance and growth of crops. We understand the critical importance of sustainable use and protection of water to safeguard this precious resource.

As one of the world’s largest brewers, and a signatory to the United Nations CEO Water Mandate, we recognise that we have a responsibility to promote responsible water use and encourage our suppliers to do the same.

We describe our approach for addressing water-related issues around the world as ‘Water Stewardship’. For all our water-related investments, we consider how they benefit the wider community, not just our breweries.

For examples of this in practice, see our case studies from around the globe and our 2013 Sustainability Report.

Our priorities

HEINEKEN has established these focus areas related to water stewardship:

  • Reduce the amount of water used in production
  • Ensure the responsible discharge of brewery effluent
  • Reduce the amount of water used in the rest of our supply chain, notably agriculture
  • Protect our water resources in water-scarce and water-distressed areas
  • Compensate for the water that is not returned to the local water cycle: ‘water balancing’.

We focus on these areas with two goals in mind: reduce water consumption by addressing avoidable losses, and minimise our impact by balancing (where possible) the water we use that cannot be returned to the local watershed (particularly for water-scarce and water-distressed areas). This includes the water in our products and unavoidable evaporation when we produce beer. By stimulating, financing and supporting water initiatives we can help conserve or restore the watershed.

Reducing Water Consumption

By 2020, we aim to reduce water consumption in our breweries by 30%. To achieve this, we’re sharing best-practice throughout the group, investing in water-efficient technologies, and benchmarking our breweries.

Protecting Water Resources

In order to use our resources most effectively, we have mapped and prioritised 23 production sites around the world in terms of water related risk. For each site we set up a Source Water Vulnerability Assessment to determine how vulnerable a local area is in terms of water risk. A Source Water Protection Programme is then completed, providing a step-by-step method for evaluating and implementing water protection measures.

Balancing Water Demand

To protect our water resources in water-scarce and water-distressed areas, we work to redress the water balance by financing and supporting local projects that aim to: conserve or restore water quantity, quality or biodiversity in the local watershed; and/or improve access to clean water for the local communities.

Content from this campaign

HEINEKEN and UNIDO Announce Partnership to Support Sustainability in Developing Markets
Amsterdam / Vienna, March 2, 2015 /3BL Media/ – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and HEINEKEN the international brewer, announced on Friday plans to work together in a range of sustainability issues that will promote inclusive growth in developing countries. The new partnership will focus mainly on water stewardship initiatives in countries and regions...
Mar 2, 2015 9:00 AM ET
HEINEKEN raises awareness and providing clean water in Vietnam rural areas
Vietnam Brewery Limited (VBL) launched the ‘1 minute less for million smiles’ campaign. The programme’s aim is to support rural communities, for whom clean water shortage is a deadly concern. In Vietnam, only 11.7% of households in rural areas have access to...
Jul 16, 2014 9:00 AM ET
Monterrey unites to protect its water
Clean, fresh water isn’t just essential to our business. It is vital for the communities in which we operate, particularly in regions that face irregular water supply as a result of drought or flooding. In September 2013, HEINEKEN in Mexico joined a consortium with other companies, universities, civil society organisations and government institutions to establish the...
Jul 9, 2014 9:00 AM ET
Portuguese Brewery saves 72 million liters of water annually with GE technology
Sociedade Central de Cervejas e Bebidas Brewery, Part of the HEINEKEN Group, near Lisbon Honored with GE ecomagination Award Annual Fresh Water Consumption Reduced by 72 Million Liters Brewery Lessened Its Environmental and Economic Impact
Jun 5, 2014 12:00 AM ET