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In conjunction with World Water Day 2021, Heineken Malaysia Berhad (Heineken Malaysia) is reinforcing its sustainability commitment this year, as it gears into the second stage of its Water Stewardship Agenda 2021-2023. As part of the brewer’s efforts in caring for the environment, Heineken Malaysia reaffirmed its commitment to become 100% balanced for water used in its production.
Understanding the value of water, HEINEKEN Malaysia has sharpened its focus on water-related efforts by adopting the Every Drop Strategy, a triangular approach that looks at water protection in a more holistic manner. Through the Every Drop Strategy, Heineken Malaysia will channel its efforts on Water Stewardship to fully balance the water used for the products, Water Circularity for wastewater treatment, and Water Efficiency to reduce water usage in production.
Roland Bala, Managing Director of Heineken Malaysia said, “This year’s World Water Day is centred around the value of water and what it means to us. Water is a key ingredient in beer brewing and it is truly important that we protect our water source to ensure we have high quality water for our beer. More importantly, we believe that access to water is a basic human right. Often times, water is taken for granted as it is ever flowing. But it is a crucial shared resource that we need to protect together to ensure we have a continuous supply of clean water because every drop matters.
“There is no doubt that water is essential to our business, and in doing our part, we ensure that 100% of our wastewater is treated before returning the clean water back to its source. Our works in the past have been river rehabilitation, but we have come to realise that there is an even greater need now to look at watershed health protection in a more holistic manner,” he added.
In line with Heineken’s global sustainability strategy, Brewing a Better World, Heineken Malaysia’s water initiatives support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Among them include SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 14: Life Below Water, and SDG 15: Life on Land. Essentially, the brewer aims to incorporate sustainability as an integral part of its business journey, while striving to be a champion for water protection.
Renuka Indrarajah, Corporate Affairs and Legal Director of Heineken Malaysia and Trustee of SPARK Foundation (CSR arm of Heineken Malaysia) said, “World Water Day is an important day to reflect on how we at Heineken Malaysia care for the environment. We had made significant strides in protecting our water resources since we started in 2007. Through our CSR arm, SPARK Foundation, we have invested close to RM 19.5 million in protecting our water resources.”
“To date, we have rehabilitated five rivers, supported over 6,000 people with alternative water systems in Selangor and Sabah, installed water thimbles in 407 households in Sungai Selangor and Sungai Penchala, and reforested one hectare of degraded peatland and built a 305-metre clay dyke in Raja Musa Forest Reserve to help store up to 140 million litres of water for Sungai Selangor annually. These milestones are testaments to our intention, and we are committed to doing more as we advance into the next phase of our Water Stewardship Agenda 2021-2023,” she concluded.
As part of the Phase 2: Water Stewardship Agenda 2021-2023, Heineken Malaysia’s 2021 W.A.T.E.R initiatives will be guided by four strategies:
- Rehabilitation and raising awareness on rivers and water sources: To continue championing river conservation by showcasing the success story of Sungai Way as a model urban river in an industrial zone, as a best practice of industry-community partnership. Heineken Malaysia aims to maintain river water quality at Class III or better, through the construction and enhancement of wetland islands. Tree planting initiatives along the banks of Sungai Way will also enhance biodiversity of the river.
- Alternative water systems: Heineken Malaysia aims to support urban poor and rural communities in the Klang Valley with alternative water systems to mitigate water disruptions and reduce reliance on treated water for non-potable use. Such systems, including rainwater harvesting, will also help those without proper access to treated water, particularly in more rural areas. Linked with community gardening projects, these systems will indirectly support communities with growing a sustainable food source.
- Watershed health protection: As a responsible brewer, Heineken Malaysia also aims to proactively protect shared water resources by managing watersheds through nature based solutions that will help conserve the water sources for the longer term. The brewer is committed to continue building on its initiatives at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve, Selangor, including reforestation of degraded peatland as well as maintaining the clay dyke.
- Continuous engagement with local communities and relevant government agencies: Heineken Malaysia understands that protecting water sources takes collective action. Through its CSR arm SPARK Foundation, the WATER Project will engage communities in the cause of water conservation through education and outreach initiatives. Heineken Malaysia also plans to engage the Government in establishing networks with like-minded agencies and organisations that can strengthen participation and action.