How can a beer company tackle water scarcity?

Heineken is brewing a better world by tackling water scarcity. Brewing beer consumes a lot of water, which is why Heineken must pay attention to water-stressed areas around its breweries in Madrid, Jaén, Seville and Valencia. Threats include environmental challenges such as climate change, desertification and unsustainable land use.

Balancing act

By partnering with Commonland, a land restoration NGO, Heineken has designed several water balancing projects. By improving land use in the surrounding watersheds (areas of land separating waters flowing into different rivers, basins or seas), it can balance the water used by the four breweries, involving local farmers and landowners.

Barley on olive groves

An innovative scheme at Jaén brewery is testing whether planting barley around olive trees can improve soil filtration (the passage of water through soil, which cleans the water). As well saving lost water, the scheme also provides barley, which is used for beer production. Heineken believes that large-scale adoption of the scheme could save 700 million litres of water per year.

Lagoons in Doñana

By restoring three degraded lagoons through improvements in soil structure and water filtration, Heineken is able to return 420,000m³ of water each year to Doñana. Besides compensating the equivalent of 168 Olympic-sized swimming pools, Heineken has also taken the opportunity to communicate water stewardship, publishing 79 media articles to share its learning.

This story shows how Heineken supports Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, specifically Target 6.4: “By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.”

About Heineken

Heineken is a global beer brewer committed to bringing enjoyment to consumers around the world. From a single brewery in Amsterdam almost 150 years ago, Heineken has grown into a successful global business.

Commitments, Actions and Progress from Heineken.