Can beer, soda and bottled water improve world water resources? Yes! To mitigate their negative impacts, the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) works with beverage companies around the world making strides in water protection, conservation, replenishment and management.
Protection – Beer is 95% water. Heineken uses water to growing crops and distill its final product. To reduce impact, Heineken is working to minimize water intake by increasing water efficiency, treating brewery effluent and balancing the water which facilities can’t return to the local watershed. Heineken concentrates water stewardship investments in 23 operational sites in water-stressed areas, mostly in Africa, Mexico, Indonesia and Spain. A good example is their 2016 tree planting project in Rwanda to improve soil structure and drainage.
Conservation – In 2015, PepsiCo reduced operational water use per unit of production by 26% against a 2006 baseline, well exceeding their goal of 20% by 2015. Water conservation efforts saved PepsiCo more than $80 million between 2011-2015. PepsiCo contributes to Recycle for Nature, a five-year partnership with The Nature Conservancy to protect U.S. drinking water sources by recycling beverage bottles and cans.
Replenishment – Many of Coca-Cola’s projects focus on replenishment. Replenishment returns clean water to the watershed and improves community water systems. Coca-Cola boasts a success rate of replenishing 115% of water used in global sales volume, ahead of 2020 targets. Their replenishment projects are conducted with the expertise and support of partners such as WWF, USAID, The Nature Conservancy, Water for People, UN-HABITAT, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Management – Nestle sustainably manages nearly 14,000 acres of natural watershed around their 50 spring sites. At the source, they monitor water levels to ensure that they’re being replenished. Nestle has improved the production life cycle for packaging. For example, their bottle has the lightest environmental footprint in the industry. Managing the end of the process, Nestle focuses on improving recycling rates to reduce energy needs and raw materials.
Michael Washburn, director of sustainability at Nestle Waters North America, states that their effort “serves our business interests”, promoting economic growth, saving businesses money. The effort can add 1.5 million jobs if the US reaches a 75% recycling rate.
CSE is proud to have worked with each of these companies via their Sustainability Practitioner Program and consulting. There is much more to be done. To meet the training challenge, CSE’s Sustainability Academy offers an affordable, flexible online program targeted to train 100,000 sustainability practitioners by 2020!