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Anheuser-Busch InBev Wants to be World's Greenest Brewer

Anheuser-Busch InBev is trying to become the world's greenest brewer with new environmental goals aimed at significantly trimming water use, waste and its carbon footprint.

The company plans to reduce water consumption by 30 percent by 2012, relative to its 2007 baseline. This translates to 3.5 hectoliters of water used for each hectoliter of production, which it says would make it the world's most water-efficient brewer.

Some of the company's facilities have already reached this milestone, including its brewery in Cartersville, Georgia, which operates on average at 3.1 hectoliters per water per hectoliter of production, and another location in Germany that has achieved an annual average of 3.09 hectoliters. As a whole, Anheuser-Busch InBev used 4.3 hectoliters of water per hectoliter of production in 2009.

The company also plans to achieve a 99 percent waste recycling and reuse rate by late 2012. This is up slightly from its impressive 2009 rate of 98 percent. On average, the typical returnable bottle is used 50 times, the company said.

Finally, Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions and energy use for every hectoliter of production. At more than two-dozen breweries, the company captures methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, from brewery wastewater to make steam for electricity. A facility in Houston, Texas, is also able to use methane from a nearby landfill to satisfy more than 70 percent of its fuel needs.

The goals are part of the company's Better World Commitment, whose three pillars of social responsibility also include the promotion of responsible drinking and contributing to local communities.

Anheuser-Busch InBev scored 34 points out of 100 for water disclosure in the recent Ceres report, "Murky Waters: Corporate Reporting on Water Risk," the second highest in the beverage sector behind Diageo. The company, which has signed the CEO Water Mandate, was also one of 12 companies to form the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable in an effort to collect and share data and best practices for water conservation, reuse and stewardship.

Before it merged with InBev, Anheuser-Busch had managed to hold water use steady while production increased, make its fleet greener, use renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other achievements.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user davidgsteadman.

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