Water stewardship has become an important CSR focus for many companies. Good water stewardship is especially important to beverage companies like Pepsico,and Coca-Cola where water makes up large quantities of the actual product they produce. The same also goes for alcoholic beverages.
Brewing packs a walloping carbon as well as water footprint. It takes 58 gallons to make 8 oz. of wine, for example. According to waterfootprint.org it takes 75 litres of water to make one glass (250 ml) of beer and most of that water goes into the production of barley or hops. Beer is US$300 billion market, and many brewing companies have started to invest in water conservation methods.
September is Water Stewardship month at Molson Coors Brewing Company and the company will be focusing programs designed to educate and engage employees in the UK, Canada and the US on water conservation.
According to Bart Alexancer, Chief CSR Officer at Molson Coors: “As a leading global brewer, we have a long-standing commitment to water sustainability along with more than 200 years of experience in managing complex water issues. Since fresh water is the single most important ingredient in beer, we not only have a responsibility to be good stewards of this valuable resource, but to raise awareness with our employees and the community on the critical importance of water sustainability. Water Stewardship Month in September is just one of the ways we do that.”
The company has launched a micro-site for their Every Drop, Every Ripple campaign which discusses their efforts when it comes to water stewardship with the aim to educating consumers about water usage. It includes a video about their ‘Beer Print’ and the efforts they are taking to reduce it. They have also included their employees in their efforts by helping them to calculate how much water they use and providing easy tips for conservation. This information gets compiled into a survey and then employees are invited to pledge to reduce their water footprint by 5-20% in the coming year.
Apart from employee engagement as part of their CSR, Molson Coors has set ambitious targets to meet. Their biggest goal is a 15% reduction of water usage by 2013 using 2008 as their baseline year. This means that the company would use 4.4 hectoliters of water for every hectolitre of beer brewed (1hl = 100l). In 2010, the company became the lead sponsor of Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Water Disclosure. The same year they decreased their water use by 5% which also resulted in a 3% energy use. All through the month of September the company has arranged for various employee engagement programs focusing on water stewardship in countries of its operation as part of its CSR program.
The company has recently committed to invest £15m annually over the next five years to develop Britain’s biggest brewery in Burton-on-Trent. The plant aims to save 1bn litres of water by 2012 and energy reduction of 20% by 2020. According to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), 41 breweries have been closed in the last 11 years in the UK. Molson Coors recognizes that modernizing their operations is one way to remain competitive – this automatically means investing in sustainable practices.