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Sustainability Results: AB InBev Beats CO2 Goal Early, Cuts Water 8% in One Year

Anheuser-Busch InBev cut its greenhouse gas emissions per hectoliter of beer produced by 11.5 percent from 2009 to 2011, beating a goal of a 10 percent cut by 2012, according to a progress update published yesterday.

The reduction represents a 5 percent decrease in 2011 alone.

The company’s initiatives to tackle CO2 include the use of solar panels, which generate 5.45 percent of electricity needs at its Fairfield, Calif., brewery. That facility has also replaced 14 percent of its natural gas use by capturing methane from brewery wastewater.

In the update, AB InBev also announced progress to date on three-year targets for water, recycling and energy efficiency, all set in 2009.

The company cut is water use to 3.71 hectoliters of water per hL of beer produced in 2011, which it says puts it on track to meet a target of 3.5 hL by the end of 2012. ABInBev reduced water use by 8.2 percent from 2010 levels, and by 13.7 percent against its 2009 baseline of 4.3 hL, with a mix of engineering improvements, operational changes and internal behavior-driven actions to optimize efficiency in every brewery and soft drink facility, the company said.

It also reduced energy use by 8.7 percent compared to its 2009 baseline, and says it expects to reach its goal of reducing its energy use per hectoliter of production by 10 percent by the end of 2012.

AB InBev said that its 2011 recycling rate has reached 98.2 percent, close to its goal of a 99 percent recycling rate in 2012.

Some specific results include:

• In the U.S., the company’s Fairfield, Calif., brewery uses only 3.15 hectoliters of water per hectoliter of beer.

• AB InBev’s Central & Eastern European region has reduced water consumption by 6.4 percent from 2010 to 2011. The region has an initiative to identify and reduce leaking, and incentives for top-performing facilities.

• The company’s Wuhan brewery in China has reduced water use by 50 percent since 2009. In 2011, the brewery worked with the community to recycle water discharges in beneficial ways– including fire-fighting and irrigation of public gardens.

• In Western Europe, employees distributed 5,000 water-saving devices free of charge to bars and pubs, helping them to reduce water use by as much as 50 percent in a typical bar’s rinsing basin.

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