June 16, 2009 / 8:37 PM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: Steps by beverage companies to conserve water

(Reuters) - In the face of increasing global water scarcity, beverage companies are taking steps to conserve this resource.

Following are some of the measures:

BEVERAGE INDUSTRY ENVIRONMENTAL ROUNDTABLE (BIER) - With members like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Brown-Forman, Beam Global Spirits and Wine, Carlsberg and Molson Coors Brewing, this group works to define a common framework for assessing water use, improve industry practices and performance and inform public policy in areas such as water conservation.

PEPSICO - Gatorade plants are using a silicone-like substance to lubricate bottle lines instead of soapy water and ionized air to clean empty bottles. They also recycle steam vapor from heating processes.

PepsiCo is also teaching farmers in India to use direct seeding for rice instead of moving seedlings from nurseries to paddies which are then flooded. The program is being extended to more than 4,700 acres of land and is expected to save nearly 4 billion liters of water.

COCA-COLA - In 2007 former Chief Executive Neville Isdell pledged that Coca-Cola would aim to “return to communities and to nature an amount of water equivalent to what we use in all of our beverages and their production”.

The company is setting water efficiency targets for plants and is working to protect water basins worldwide. Programs range from controlling thirsty invasive plant species along the Rio Grande in North America to developing pollution control measures in China’s Yangtze area.

NESTLE WATERS NORTH AMERICA - All new plants will achieve “green building” certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. So far, the company’s five certified plants have reduced water use by 9 million gallons. It also sponsors a children’s water education program called Project WET.

SABMILLER - Set water efficiency targets while undertaking extensive watershed mapping and work to improve suppliers’ efficiency. A plant in Slovakia, for example, now has a more efficient bottle washer and uses the same water to clean the inside and outside of kegs, while a brewery in Honduras supplies a local nursery with treated water and dried sludge for use as a fertilizer.

MOLSON COORS - Has a research and development program that seeks new barley varieties which require less water and better withstand drought conditions.

PERNOD RICARD - Is using a technique at vineyards in Australia, Spain and Argentina which measures the exact amount of water needed for grapes to grow and then irrigates drop by drop. Its Chivas Brothers business in Scotland uses an automated machine to wash vehicles while a plant in Brazil is running a project aiming at using rainwater to clean plants.

Reporting by Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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