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Water Sustainability Efforts Exceed Original Goal, Says Heineken Malaysia

Water Sustainability Efforts Exceed Original Goal, Says Heineken Malaysia

Heineken Malaysia achieved 267% water balance after many years of hard work and effort.

Anne Dorall

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Heineken Malaysia announced this week that they have reached, and exceeded, their sustainability goal in water stewardship projects.

The great news is that we have achieved 267% water balance after so many years of hard work and effort.

Renuka Indrarajah, Corporate Affairs and Legal Director of Heineken Malaysia

This achievement comes a full 10 years early based on their 2030 target on water stewardship. Additionally, Heineken is the first company to aim for and achieve water balancing in Malaysia, after having already achieved water balancing targets at several sites in Mexico, Spain, and Egypt.

The Every Drop strategy

For Heineken, one of the largest brewers globally, a healthy watershed is crucial to brew the best beer, hence their commitment to water sustainability which started years ago.

Water balancing simply means balancing the amount of water used through water stewardship initiatives that protect the health of the water source and reduce reliance on treated water. Heineken’s ambitious target is to balance 1.5 litres of water for every 1 litres used– keeping in account for things like evaporation and water absorptions into other areas.

In 2020, Heineken Malaysia used just 3.65 litres of water to brew every litre of beer.
(Credit: freepik)

With the help of their extensive water stewardship programs, Heineken Malaysia has achieved 267% versus its 2020 water balancing target. These initiatives play an important role in protecting and conserving the health of our watersheds.

Water is central to Heineken and indeed a precious resource that is essential to all life. Our efforts in protecting our water resources over the years have enabled us to fully balance water used to brew our beers and ciders.

Roland Bala, Managing Director of Heineken Malaysia
Heineken Malaysia’s methods for balancing their water usage.
(Credit: Heineken Malaysia)

US water science and environmental engineering firm LimnoTech tested the claims in line with the international industry-standard methodologies using frameworks published by the World Resources Institute, affirming that the results – overwhelmingly positive– are true, which only proves that companies can pivot and make sustainability a priority if they choose to do so.

This is achieved with the help of their triangular approach, known as the Every Drop strategy, to ensure the protection of water sources.

Heineken uses the triangular method which includes water stewardship, water circularity, and water efficiency in their brewing process.
(Credit: Heineken)

Firstly, they ensure water efficiency. They do so by making sure each liter of water is used efficiently with no waste, therefore less water will be required in total. As of 2020, Heineken Malaysia has reduced water consumption by 15.5% since 2014, and aims to reduce a further 29% to meet the 2030 target of 2.6 litres of water per litre of product.

Secondly, they maximize water circularity. 100% of Heineken Malaysia’s wasterwater is treated beyond the standards of the Environment Department and they aim to maximise recovery, reuse, and recycling in the coming years.

Thirdly, they invest in water stewardship to fully balance the amount of water used in their products and improve the health of our water sources.

Water stewardship

Heineken Malaysia started their water stewardship programmes by focusing on their own backyard– our own local rivers and water sources, taking great effort to revitalise and nurture them back to good health.

Under the W.A.T.E.R Project, a partnership between SPARK Foundation, Heineken’s CSR arm, and the Global Environment Centre (GEC) which began in 2007, other key water stewardship initiatives have been achieved as well.

Heineken Malaysia’s management team at the site of the 305m clay dyke in Raja Musa Forest Reserve.
(Credit: Heineken Malaysia)

Among the most impressive is the rehabilitation of the urban Sungai Way river. The 2km-long river, which meanders through Petaling Jaya’s commerical, industrial, and residential areas, was classified as a dead river with water quality levels at Class IV – V. It was extremely polluted and not suitable for living organisms to survive in.

After great effort and collective action by various authorities and communities in nearby Desa Mentari to clean up the river and surrounding areas, Sungai Way river is now at Class III– suitable for living organisms.

The Sungai Way river was once a dead river with no life. Now, there’s fish thriving in it again.
(Credit: Heineken Malaysia)

Next is the construction of a 305-metre clay dyke at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve. One hectare of degraded peatland was reforested, reducing the risk of peat fires and increasing the peatland’s water table.

Additionally, the clay dyke acts as a water retention pond, storing up to 136.1 million litres of water annually and releases the water slowly when needed, contributing to the long-term sustainability of Sungai Selangor.

The clay dyke project at Raja Musa Forest Reserve both reinvigorated degraded peatland and served as a source of water catchment.
(Credit: Heineken Malaysia)

Their projects also include community alternatives, such as the installation of over 1,000 water thimbles for more than 500 households, saving an average of 19 litres of water per person per day.

16 rainwater harvesting systems were also built for communities in Selangor to reduce their reliance on treated water for non-potable usage.

All these efforts contributed to a much healthier ecosystem, exactly as envisioned by Heineken Malaysia. For the full details on all their sustainability efforts, check out the full Water Balancing Report 2020 HERE.


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