The Asahi Group established three goals for its utilization of sustainable water resources, the Reduction in Water Use, the Assessment and Elimination of Water Risks, and the Realization of Water Neutrality, and engages in activities accordingly.
The Asahi Group conducts many different activities to reduce water consumption, with the established target of consuming 3.2 ㎥/kl of water or less at the factories of the Group’s companies manufacturing alcoholic beverages and soft drinks.
To achieve the use of sustainable water resources, a target established as part of the Asahi Group Environmental Vision 2050, we have formulated a Group-wide water management plan and are working to reduce water consumption.
The Asahi Group is committed to efficient water usage at all sites that use water through such efforts as adopting cascading water use, in which water is reused on multiple levels for different purposes, as well as to strategies for reducing the environmental burden associated with our water intake and wastewater output. Moreover, this is not only limited to within the Asahi Group; it is also actively working toward the conservation of sustainable water resources through its business activities, such as water resource management across the entire supply chain.
The water recycling facility at the Carlton & United Breweries’ Yatala Brewery, a company under the umbrella of Asahi Holdings (Australia), puroduces high-quality recycled water. This recycled water is used in various settings within the manufacturing process (excluding any processes which come in contact with product), such as cleaning steam generators and production tanks, as well as creating steam used for heat sterilization. In this way, we are working to reduce the amount of valuable water resources that we consume. In addition, by reviewing our manufacturing processes, we are taking steps to reduce the volume of water used itself, in such ways as reducing the amount of water used for cleaning within the changeover process to manufactured products, as well as optimizing the washing cycle for production lines and plumbing.
Through these efforts, the Yatala Brewery has realized a high level of water use efficiency, using only on average 2 ㎥ of water to manufacture 1 kl of product.
Asahi Breweries, Ltd. is raising the efficiency and reducing the volume of its water use by reducing the amount of water it uses to clean and sterilize tanks and pipes at its breweries and by effectively using recovered and membrane-filtered water from production processes.
Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd. makes various efforts at its factories to avoid wasting precious water.
Water used in cleaning and sterilizing beverage cans and PET bottles are treated and reused for other purposes.
Modifications in the shape and water flow rate of air induction nozzles used in washing PET bottles and bottle caps led to reduced water use and superior cleaning capability.
Water use was reduced by 60 to 75 percent from that prior to modification.
In addition, starting from 2018, the Asahi Group will disclose water consumption and wastewater amount data that have been third-party verified.
Products of the Asahi Group are made using a wide variety of farm products grown at its production bases and all over the world. It is imperative that the Asahi Group completely identifies the water risks in these products, and the Asahi Group strives to identify and eliminate water risks.
The Asahi Group's assessments of water risks at its production sites make use of WRI Aqueduct (world maps and data provided by the World Resources Institute (WRI) that show water risks) to geographically identify areas with high-level water risks, such as drought risks, for each production site. The areas whose overall water risk is identified by WRI Aqueduct as “extremely high risk” are defined as the areas at high overall risk from drought and other water risks. The Group makes its assessments accordingly.
Among the Asahi Group’s production bases that manage environmental data, one plant in Indonesia has been identified as extremely high risk as of 2020. Since 2019, we have collected data including the amount of water consumed at the plant and have been discussing actions to address the risks. We also found that, based on an assessment of water stress risks (the degree of stress between water supply and demand) alone, two of our production plants in Italy also qualify as being at extremely high risk. We have also ascertained survey results for past water risk (vulnerability) surveys in Europe, and begun considering possible countermeasures against such risks.
At production sites in Japan, no sites were found to meet the definition of being at high risk from water risks under the above assessment criteria. However, we have now started conducting our own more detailed water risk (vulnerability) surveys, which include not only water stress risks but also flood risks relating to climate change, at Asahi Group production plants and in their surrounding drainage basins. We plan to conduct these surveys at two plants in Japan during 2020, and to conduct further surveys of plants at production locations in Oceania and other regions in the future.
Going forward, we will continue to regularly survey our production sites and raw material suppliers using tools such as WRI Aqueduct to verify the presence of water risks. If any of our production sites are found to have a high level water risk, we will take appropriate measures in accordance with specific details of the risk and social circumstances in the area.
By 2025, the Asahi Group will achieve water neutrality, where an amount of water equal to the water used in its Japanese beer factories can be replaced and stored in the group-owned Asahi Forest.
The Asahi Group has redefined the amount of water that is replaced into the groundwater of Asahi Forest, as “the amount of water that can be consistently supplied as groundwater and can be used by local people, animals and plants” by taking into consideration the multifaceted functions of the forest. The opinions of specialists were sought, and based on these opinions, the amount of water replaced was verified based on the definition in 2019 and the amount of water replaced into Asahi Forest was calculated to be 9.67 million ㎥ per year. Subsequently, the area of Asahi Forest administered by the Asahi Group expanded nearly 14% and the current amount of water replaced is 11.01 million ㎥.
The annual amount of water consumption at our Japanese beer factories in 2019 was approximately 11.60 million ㎥. This means that nearly 95% of this water consumption can already be returned to the world through Asahi Forest. The Asahi Group will continue to reduce the amount of water consumed by its factories and expand the area of Asahi Forest that it administers with the goal of returning 100% of the water consumption of its beer factories in japan to the world by 2025 and achieving water neutrality, which is the sustainable utilization of water resources.
Water is a raw material that is indispensable to the Asahi Group and necessary for growing farm products. The Group assesses water quantity risks (risks of water stress, seasonal variation, the lowering of groundwater levels and other phenomena that pose difficulties in the securing of the necessary amounts of water for the growing of farm products) and natural disaster risks (flood and drought risks) faced by the places of origin of its farm products.
Water risk surveys in the procurement of raw materials led to the identification of the need to examine water risks on site. Since 2017, we have interviewed our suppliers regarding the state of water risks when conducting supplier quality audits.