There are so many reasons to care about water. Among them is that, without water, there would be no beer. That’s why conserving water is one of the six focus areas of HEINEKEN’s Brewing a Better World platform, which is woven into the ethos of the company.
Specifically, HEINEKEN’s water efforts focus on:
- Reducing the water we use in our breweries
- Treating the water we discharge back into the environment
- Balancing the water we don’t put back in the environment by investing in water stewardship projects
“At HEINEKEN, we are committed to changing the way we use water and inspiring others to do the same, said Stephanie Johnston, Director, Sustainable Business & Corporate Affairs. “Without action, due to worldwide trends we could face a 40% supply gap by 2030. Today, thanks to various global initiatives and partnerships, HEINEKEN is helping to ensure that every drop of water counts.”
From restoring wetlands and testing if barley planted among olive trees in Spain can help conserve water and researching innovative new irrigation techniques with farmers in Mexico, to investing in new water treatments and technology to reuse our water and generate renewable energy, HEINEKEN is working to improve water use inside and outside of our breweries.
HEINEKEN Spain’s four breweries are all located in water-stressed areas. It’s an issue that’s becoming increasingly urgent in southern Spain, where a large part of the region is threatened by climate change, desertification and unsustainable land use. In partnership with Commonland, a land restoration NGO that works with farmers and other land-owners, HEINEKEN set out to co-design water balancing projects around the breweries. Currently, the company is piloting the program for four years on four farms, with an added bonus of providing local barley for its breweries. At this stage, the objective is to research the benefits of this technique. If it succeeds, then large-scale adoption could save around 700 million of liters of water a year.
In Indonesia, population growth, urbanization and industrial development are putting water resources under ever-increasing pressure. The two Multi Bintang breweries are in water-stressed areas and HEINEKEN has been working for several years to manage its impacts and engage with stakeholders. Now, the brewery in Tangerang, a suburb of Jakarta, is investing in technology that will enable HEINEKEN to reclaim treated wastewater and upgrade it to drinking water quality. Using advanced membrane technology, the brewery is leveraging reclaimed water in non-product applications such as cooling, steam and packaging.
Similar actions are underway to install a water reclamation system at the company’s greenfield brewery in Meoqui, Mexico. The technology is expected to be up-and-running by mid-2018 and will recycle up to 25-30% of the brewery’s total water intake.
HEINEKEN is also conserving and protecting water sources in the U.S. Through its Cities Project, Heineken® partnered with + POOL so that one day New Yorkers will be able to swim in the notoriously polluted Hudson River. + POOL will help make the river swimmable with the help of a floating, water-filtering pool and, if all goes according to plan, it will filter over 500,000 gallons of river water daily, making a measurable contribution towards cleaning the city's waterways. For those who’d like to help move this project forward, go to SwimInTheRiver.com to sign a petition (and make a donation). Or, join the fun and experience + POOL in virtual reality at House of Yes in Brooklyn starting at 10:00pm TONIGHT (RSVP here). Ticket proceeds will go towards helping make + POOL a reality. What better day to support the cause than World Water Day?
We’re always looking for ways to Brew a Better World. Later this year, we’ll be further defining our water strategy and targets for beyond 2020. Stay tuned for more.