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Business: SAB Ltd Water Measures Help Global Reduction Targets


Recent Gauteng Business News

Johannesburg, 17 March 2009

The South African Breweries (SAB) Ltd has set itself a target to reduce water consumption by at least 10% in the coming few years. In so doing, it aims to support the SABMiller plc objective of reducing water consumption across the group by 25%. SABMiller, one of the world's leading brewers, recently announced a major new commitment to reduce water consumption across its global operations.

The group has set itself the target of reducing its average water use per litre of beer by 25% by 2015. This initiative will save around 20 billion litres of water globally every year by 2015 - enough to fill eight thousand Olympic-sized swimming pools. Water quality and availability is a key priority for the South African beverage industry, which is heavily reliant on water-intensive raw materials, while operating in a water-stressed country.

Along with all companies in the SABMiller group, the key focus is therefore to produce more beer and, in SAB Ltd’s case also soft drinks, but using less water. “This is a big challenge for us,” says Janine van Stolk, SAB Ltd’s Communications Manager.

“We are very conscious that our portfolio of beer brands has increased, but at the same time we’re also very serious about reducing our water consumption rates even further.” SAB Ltd’s current performance across its beer division is 4.4 litres of water used for every litre of beer produced, against the global industry average in 2008 of 5 litres. The company’s target is to reduce its average water consumption to below 4 litres of water for every litre of beer. SAB’s Soft Drinks division (ABI) currently uses about 2.4 litres per litre of soft drinks manufactured, with a target to reduce its water consumption to less than 2 litres by 2015.

“We have had a number of successes so far, and we are committed to continue looking into how we can reduce our water use within both our operations and our supply chain. By implementing a number of new technologies and operational efficiencies at our plants, we are well on our way to meeting our water reduction targets,” van Stolk concluded.

By 2015 SABMiller aims to reduce its global water consumption footprint to an average of 3.5 litres used to make a litre of beer. In 2008 this figure was 4.6 litres; the global industry average is 5 litres. "In an increasingly water constrained world it is critical that we become as efficient as possible, whilst working with communities to protect water resources", SABMiller CEO Graham Mackay said. "This is an extremely challenging, but achievable target, and sets a new industry benchmark."

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