We routinely rail on Anheuser-Bush InBev (ABIB) for anything negative that might come out of their shop. Sometimes, you have to recognize that the big boys can go a long way to setting positive precedent in the industry. So, today we give a slight tip of our hat to ABIB for announcing its green initiative.
Sure, many micro brewers went green on day 1 and there are many leaders at the micro level when it comes to environmentally friendly operations. ABIB brings scale to the game. A promise to cut water consumption by 30 percent* means a lot when you have 130,000 employees in 30 countries. ABIB boasts that they will save enough water to fill 25,000 Olympic size swimming pools. The ABIB press release states other goals including achieving a 99 percent recycle/reuse rate and a 10 percent reduction in carbon dioxide output.
Of course, there are two sides to every story so ABIB may still be the Evil Empire. The New York Times reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires companies to disclose their environmental risks, including water supply issues. "Water conflicts and risks are already coming to a head in expanding beer and beverage markets in the developing world, regions where 1.1 billion people still lack clean drinking water access and the agriculture sector demands its fare share." For example, China and Brazil are two large growth markets for ABIB and the two countries also have water quality and supply issues.
*30 percent reduction of 2007 water consumption levels.