BIER Highlighted as Leading Water Initiative by WBCSD/IUCN
Beverage companies rely on water as a primary ingredient in each of their products. Promoting sustainable use and protection of this precious resource is a business imperative that each of our members share. Appreciative of the business, environmental, and social importance of this natural resource, partners have collaborated to define an industry definition of water stewardship. BIER refers to this as our definition of World Class Water Stewardship in the Beverage Industry. The definition is based upon five shared principles:
- Conservation - Water efficiency is fundamental to operational excellence.
- Watershed - Water is a limited and shared resource.
- Community - Community involvement is essential.
- Partnerships - Partnerships lead to more effective water management.
- Supply Chain - Supply chain engagement is a critical element of water stewardship.
The Roundtable has utilized the above categories as context for the following core Water Stewardship activities:
Annual quantitative and qualitative benchmarking is completed on select aspects of the BIER-developed World Class Water Stewardship in the Beverage Industry. Results are consolidated, patterned, and collectively analyzed at Roundtable meetings. To date, the benchmarking has included data from over 1,100 beverage facilities, including breweries, distilleries, wineries, and bottling sites. A working group has been formulated to continually improve benchmarking processes and methodologies.
Best Practice Sharing
Best practice sharing is promoted on working group teleconferences and during bi-annual Roundtable meetings. Topics to date have included: drought preparedness, rainwater harvesting, clean-in-place technologies, and water treatment technologies. Technical details from each best practice sharing session are captured in topic specific guidance documents which are made available to each member company for internal use.
In 2010, BIER formed a working group to evaluate and address the increasing global efforts to develop water footprinting methodologies, particularly as they apply to the beverage sector. A Practical Perspective on Water Footprinting in the Beverage Sector has been created by BIER members to guide beverage companies in the application of existing and developing water footprinting documents. It provides clarification and consistency in the quantification of a beverage water footprint and introduces a screening methodology to identify and prioritize water impacts from a business perspective. BIER is currently seeking review and comment from selected external stakeholders as the Sector Perspective is finalized.