Water is the #1 ingredient in beer. It’s our most valuable resource. Therefore it’s our #1 priority to use water in the most sustainable way, whilst still bringing you the best beer in South Africa.
As part of our 2025 Sustainability Goals, (see all our sustainability goals here) we are working to ensure that 100% of our communities in high-stress areas will have measurably improved water availability and quality.
More than just a key ingredient in our beer, water is a critical resource for the economic, social and environmental well-being of our communities and the systems we rely on to provide us with key natural resources. We brew our beers at the highest level of water efficiency and we continually challenge ourselves to do even more.
But the scale of the global water challenge is bigger than we are. That is why we are looking beyond our own operations and improving high-risk watersheds in the areas where we operate. Our ultimate goal is to ensure water access and quality for both our communities and our operations.
DAVID GRANT – HEAD OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE AFRICA ZONE
David Grant leads the sustainable development function for AB InBev’s Africa Zone based out of Johannesburg South Africa. As Head of Sustainable Development in the Africa Zone, David has started implementing changes with regards to our water stewardship in major towns around South Africa.
“Sustainability is definitely one of the core values of our business,” said Grant. “It’s evident in a number of ways – we have grounded strategies surrounding entrepreneurial growth and development, water stewardship, circular economy and our renewable energy drive.”
The City of Cape Town recently awarded our Newlands Brewery a 5-star water grading in recognition of its integrated water management system and its work to promote water-wise use in the local business sector. Through best practice and stringent water use target setting, our Newlands Brewery has managed to reduce its water use from 3.73 hectolitres of water for every one hectolitre of beer produced to 2.8hl of water. In other words, for every litre of beer produced at the plant, SAB Newlands has saved one litre of water.
“Protecting precious water resources is an important sustainability goal for SAB and AB InBev. Over the years, we have always looked to reduce water consumption and usage at our breweries across South Africa and the rest of the globe,” says Bryan Versveld, Plant Manager at SAB Newlands Brewery.
In 2017 SAB launched its “City Water Partnerships” initiative aimed at supporting cities that are experiencing water stress with either water conservation and/or water pressure management systems with the aim of reducing water losses (non-revenue water) in these cities.
The first of these partnerships was initiated between SAB and the City of Tshwane, under which a strategy was developed to both reduce water loss and increase the yield of the City’s own water sources. The results of the first phase of the partnership (2017 – 2018) indicate that the project was able to supply an additional 3.1 billion litres of water into the City’s network to date from sustainable water sources. Phase two was launched in 2019 and is already beginning to show good results and will also be extended to working with local communities on household water leak detection and repair.
SAB also partnered with the city of Cape Town during the recent drought crisis that hit the Western Cape. Under this initiative SAB provided funding to support advanced pressure management to certain sections of the City’s water distribution network in an attempt to reduce water losses through leaks. While modest in terms of the water demand of the City of Cape Town, the project was able to deliver savings of approximately 4,667,000 litres of water per day. In the Outeniqua water catchment area in the city of George in the Western Cape, SAB has led an alien vegetation-clearing initiative since 2016, which has increased water flow in excess of 1-billion litres per year. The project has created more than 120 jobs for local communities assisting with clearing alien plant species, which sap the area of water.
During the course of 2019 SAB will be entering into two new City Water Partnerships in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape continuing the journey to find sustainable solutions to manage this scarce resource.
In other parts of Africa, namely Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique, SAB’s parent company, AB InBev, has implemented initiatives to rehabilitate key catchments and improve community access to quality water.
*Source: World Health Organization.