Beer brewer Carlsberg Group conducted an analysis of water risk in conjunction with WWF and has set a new goal of reducing water usage at its breweries by 50% by 2030. Reaching the goal will require “technological breakthroughs at brewery level” as well as collaborations with partners in high-risk catchment areas to ensure long-term water availability, says Jochem Verberne, global partnership director at WWF International.
To reach the goal, Carlsberg plans to conserve all the water that is not actually used in its products not only by using water efficiently, but by re-use in its own breweries, use by other industries such as farming, or “safe return to the natural environment,” the company says. The brewery will also form partnerships to improve water management in high-risk areas around selected breweries, the company says, though it did not expand upon what types of partnerships these might be or what organizations they might be partnering with.
Carlsberg also committed to eliminating carbon emissions in its new sustainability program, Together Towards ZERO. Part of that commitment includes the use of 100% renewable electricity at its breweries by 2022. The company says the Together Towards ZERO program is a response to increasing consumer demand for sustainable products.
The brewing industry has made significant advances in the last 20 years in terms of reductions in water usage, but water consumption and wastewater disposal remain hurdles that “directly affect breweries and the brewing process,” according to the Brewers Association.
“Although the payback for reducing water usage is typically longer than recommended using standard financial calculators, the long-term sustainability and growth of a business may depend on the ability to efficiently use water resources,” the association’s website claims.
This is a critical year for the water industry, Bluefield Research president Reese Tisdale said in January. “Market forces such as drought and water scarcity will drive new business models and interest in water reuse. We will also see a focus on innovation in the form of smart water technologies and industrial water treatment; how far these solutions will go remains to be seen.”