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SABMiller Sustainability Report: Water Use Down 5%, CO2 Falls 10%

SABMiller, a brewing company with more than 200 beer brands including Miller Genuine Draft, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Grolsch, reduced its water consumption and carbon emissions per hectoliter of lager produced by 5 percent and 10 percent, compared to 2011 levels, according to the company’s 2012 sustainability report. The report covers the financial period that ended March 31, 2012.

The company has set a target across operations to become 25 percent more water-efficient by 2015, using 2008 as a base level. Since setting the target, SABMiller says its water efficiency has improved by 13 percent, the report says.

In Uganda, SABMiller’s Nile Breweries has reduced its water consumption from 8 hectoliters of water per hectoliter of lager produced in 2006 to 4.7 hectoliters in 2012, according to the company.

In the US, MillerCoors is working with The Nature Conservancy to protect the watershed and improve habitats in Idaho’s barley-growing Silver Creek Valley. The company developed a watershed conservation plan at a barley farm that increased yields and saved almost 4.7 million hectoliters of water — about nine percent of the farm’s annual water use — compared with 2010 levels, the sustainability report says.

At the Rio+20 Earth Summit, SABMiller’s CEO was one of 45 whom agreed to set targets on their own companies’ water efficiency and wastewater management, and who called on governments attending the summit to make global water security a top priority. The company is also a founding signatory of the UN CEO Water Mandate, and in 2011 it participated in the second CDP Water Disclosure Project.

In 2009, SABMiller founded the Water Futures partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and the German development agency GIZ.

During the past 12 months, the company reports its energy use has remained constant at 138 MJ per hectolitre of lager. However, due in part to a cleaner fuel mix, the carbon emissions per hectolitre of lager produced fell to 12.4 kgCO2e/hl, which is 10 percent below 2011 levels. SABMiller has set a goal to improve its carbon efficiency by 50 percent by 2020, compared to 2008 levels.

The report says 2012 emissions totaled 2.1 million tons of CO2e.

At Kompania Piwowarska, it has saved about 35,000 tons of CO2e emissions over the last five years by improving the energy efficiency of our breweries. Between 2003 and 2012, its Poznan brewery reduced the amount of heat energy it uses to produce a hectoliter of lager by 57 percent, down from 135.39 MJ/hl to 58.34 MJ/hl.

The company also uses biogas from wastewater and reclaims local agricultural waste such as spent grains to generate renewable energy. In India, SABMiller burns rice husks, providing cheaper fuel for its business compared to traditional energy sources such as coal. During 2012, biogas from the Tychy brewery’s wastewater treatment plant provided more than 15 percent of the total gas used to power the brewery’s boiler.

The company’s sustainability report says it works with its suppliers to reduce carbon emissions and waste associated with its packaging. In 2012, 52 percent of its bottles and kegs were returnable, which is consistent with 2011 levels. In the last year another of the company’s beer brands, Birra Peroni S.r.l. in Italy, has reduced the weight of its Peroni Gran Riserva 330 ml bottle by 40 percent (from 310g to 185g), saving 750 tons of glass and about 600 tons of CO2e a year, according to the report.

According to the company’s 2011 sustainability report, SABMiller cut both its relative water consumption and fossil fuel emissions by 3 percent and recycled 96 percent of its waste in 2011. In its own 2011 report, MillerCoors said it had not reduced its water use since 2008.

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