Using 2007 as a base-line year, AB InBev has set a target of reducing water use 30 per cent for every unit of production by the end of 2012. The brewer has already made progress towards this goal having reduced its water use from 5.03 hectolitres per hectolitre of production in 2007 to 4.3 hectolitres last year.
To reduce water consumption further, AB InBev plans to extend the use of best practices already implemented in some of its breweries.
For example, at its Wernigerode brewery in Germany the company has already cut water use per hectolitre of production to 3.09 litres. This has been achieved using a combination of engineering solutions and ongoing training sessions designed to help fine-tune procedures and identify key environmental issues.
The challenge for AB InBev is to roll-out the systems in place in Wernigerode to its other breweries across the globe.
Apart from water use, the brewer has set other environmental targets. Carbon emissions and energy use are to be cut by 10 per cent per hectoliter of production by 2012, building on a 10.9 per cent reduction achieved since 2007.
One of the success stories permitting the brewer to cut energy use in the last two years has been the implementation of the Bio-Energy Recovery System (BERS) - a method of capturing methane from brewery wastewater to produce steam. Now used in more than 25 breweries, the system has the potential to cut energy consumption significantly.
At its Houston, Texas facility, AB InBev has captured enough methane through the BERS process and a nearby landfill to provide more than 70 per cent of brewery’s fuel needs. Expanding the use of BERS and other energy saving initiatives will help the company reach its 10 per cent energy reduction target for 2010.