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AB InBev Sustainability Report: Meets CO2 Target a Year Early; Water Use Down 8%

AB InBev last year cut its greenhouse gas emissions relative to production by 5.3 percent, meeting its goal of a 10 percent reduction on 2009 levels a year ahead of schedule, and also cut its relative water use by eight percent, according to the company’s 2011 Global Citizenship Report.

In 2009 the company produced 10.57 kilograms of CO2 per hectoliter of production, in 2010 9.89 kg/hl, and in 2011 9.36 kg/hl. The now-beaten target for 2012 was set at 9.51 kg/hl.

AB InBev achieved the reduction through increased energy-efficiency, a switch to fuels that emit fewer greenhouse gasses, and through a participation in carbon markets, the report says.

An AB InBev renewable energy project in Viamão, Brazil, has generated certified carbon credits that are expected to be sold in 2012. This should both reduce regulatory risks and provide economic benefits from the sale of the credits, the company says. In 2011, its Tangshan facility in China reduced carbon emissions by 2,348 tons per year with the installation of a boiler fueled by biogas, created by the brewery’s bio treatment system.

In 2011 AB InBev’s average water use was 3.71 hectoliters per hectoliter of product, down from 4.04 hl/hl in 2010, and a 13.7 percent reduction since 2009. The company says that since instigating water efficiency programs in 2009 it has saved 225 million hectoliters, equivalent to more than 9,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The company says it is on target to meet its average water use goal of 3.5 hl/hl by the end of 2012. The number of individual AB InBev facilities that have met that target increased from 14 in 2010 to 22 in 2011. Many of the company’s facilities significantly improved their water efficiency over the course of 2011. Success stories include the Cochabamba brewery in Bolivia, which reduced its 2011 water use by 29.2 percent through measures including reusing water, optimizing water recirculation for the facility’s bathrooms, and reducing water pressure used for cleaning bottles.

The company also recorded success in its energy use reduction. In 2011, AB Inbev consumed 47.6 million gigajoules of energy – down from 50.3 Gj in 2010 (see graph, below). The company reduced its energy use from 128.7 Mj per hl of production in 2010 to 122 Mj/hl in 2011, a 6.7Mj/hl, or 5 percent, reduction. Since 2009 the company has cut its energy use per hl of production by 8.7 percent.

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