Water, the main ingredient to brew our beers, is a scarce resource and as you might have been reading in earlier blogs, we’re proud to be industry leader with a water usage ratio of 3,2 liter per liter of beer brewed. We take our responsibility to use this vital resource to mankind wisely, but also want to move beyond and share part of the water we save with the people who need it most.
This is actually a best practice we took from our colleagues of Anheuser-Busch, brewer of Budweiser, in the USA. Anheuser-Busch created a water can disaster relief program in 1988 to support victims of disasters, where we are able to switch our canning lines from beer to water filling and use our logistic system to distribute these cans to any area hit by a disaster. Since the introduction in 1988, over 72 million of water cans have been donated in cooperation with the Red Cross to people in need, for example when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 and just very recent after tornadoes and severe weather in Texas and Oklahoma.
During World Environment Day 2013, we announced to run the same program in Europe. We now constantly keep a stock of 100.000 water cans available to be dispatched for immediate disaster relief in our Zone. Since the start of the program we already donated over 300.000 cans of water to people affected by natural disasters in Germany, Italy and Bosnia. And this week we’ve sent a shipment to the port of Ancona in Italy, from where the Italian Red Cross will further distribute over 100.000 water cans to help refugees from Africa who crossed the Mediterranean Sea. Already 80.000 people made the journey this year and currently a peak is expected, especially due to calmer seas.