By the year 2030, the world will be 40% short of water. Because of this, corporations like MillerCoors are working to reduce water waste and protect this precious resource, by making small changes in their everyday operations and through larger conservation campaigns. MillerCoors has partnered with organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy to protect watersheds both in the United States and overseas.
Water scarcity is a global problem, but it requires local solutions. For MillerCoors, water is "the lifeblood of beer," required in nearly every step of the brewing process. Three of its eight major breweries are located in water-scarce or water-stressed regions. Kim Marotta, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at MillerCoors, talks about how the company is working to address this issue.
"It's going to take a collective action," says Marotta, "and having strong leadership on this issue is very important."
The company has committed to increasing its water efficiency, reducing water usage by 15 percent by 2015. MillerCoors is constantly assessing its 'water footprint,' and has implemented environmental management systems that enable it to capture and reuse water rather than discharging it. The brewing company studies each of its local watersheds in order to take appropriate actions on a local level, and makes significant investments in local water stewardship activities.
In addition to its work with the River Network, MillerCoors partners with The Nature Conservancy to manage a large preserve surrounding the headwaters of Silver Creek in southern central Idaho, where some of its barley is sourced. The brewing company has provided The Nature Conservancy with financial support to monitor stream flows and water temperatures, which help measure the effects of watershed stewardship efforts.
"I think what they've accomplished so far is that they've been able to engage the local businesses and get them involved in this concern that the parent company has about fresh water," says Rich Rosengren, Director of Corporate Practices at The Nature Conservancy.