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New Metrics
Beverage Industry Giants Release True Cost of Water Toolkit

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) — a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector - has leveraged its expertise to develop a user-friendly tool to help facilities better estimate their “true cost” of water. This interactive tool can help facilities within the beverage industry and beyond better determine direct costs associated with their most water- and resource-intensive processes.

“Since most companies generally consider only the cost of water ‘at the tap’ instead of a more inclusive ‘true cost’ of water, they are only considering what they think they pay instead of what they actually pay,” says Nick Martin, BIER Water Working Group Facilitator. “After using the True Cost of Water Toolkit, many facilities find that their true cost of water is at least 2-4 times higher than they had originally thought” based on simply using their water bill as a gauge.

Water is a recognized strategic priority for companies; however, businesses that don’t use more inclusive cost accounting for water often overlook, or cannot justify, conservation and reuse opportunities. The toolkit defines a set of ‘pinch points’ or processes within a typical beverage facility with high water cost variability. For each pinch point, a true cost of water tip sheet and easy-to-use calculation worksheet has been developed. The objective is not perfect calculations, but rather a user friendly and efficient estimation tool for use at the facility level. BIER has also decided to open source this tool in hopes of building greater awareness and appreciation of the true costs of water and benefitting multiple sectors and companies pursuing water stewardship strategies to make more informed decisions and investments.

Estimating true costs of water across facilities is inherently complex. With this Toolkit, BIER — whose members include Anheuser-Busch InBev (which in June declared itself the world’s most water-efficient brewer), Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Carlsberg, The Coca-Cola Company, Constellation Brands, Inc., Danone Waters, Diageo, Ecolab, Fetzer Vineyards, Heineken, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., MillerCoors, Molson Coors, New Belgium Brewing Company, Ocean Spray Cranberries, PepsiCo, Pernod Ricard and SABMiller — has created a user-friendly tool with the objective of estimating costs, instead of trying to calculate perfect costs, which would require detailed and time-consuming calculations. With this in mind, BIER welcomes feedback on the tool and any enhancements or corrections from early users. Please contact Nick Martin to share feedback.

In addition to the toolkit, BIER has been supporting water stewardship since its start nine years ago through its cooperative work in sharing new approaches, providing guidance, creating tools and benchmarking standards, and identifying leadership principles.

Last week, Ecolab and Trucost released an added feature to their Water Risk Monetizer — industry’s first publicly available financial modeling tool that enables businesses to factor current and future water risks into decision-making. The tool’s new revenue-at-risk assessment helps water-dependent businesses better understand the full value of water to their operations and identify revenue at risk based on current and projected water scarcity.