Molson Coors brews up 5 percent cut in water consumption

Giant brewing company pledges to provider more detailed water footprint information, focused on local impact from Colorado to Montreal to the United Kingdom.

That Molson, Coors, Corona or Blue Moon brand beer or beverage you're drinking on one of these dog days of summer now takes 5 percent less water and 3 percent less energy to produce.

Those are two highlights from Molson Coors Brewing Co.'s 2011 corporate responsibility report disclosed this week. As you might imagine, water is a big focus for companies like Molson. The company was one of the earliest to join the Carbon Disclosure Project's water disclosure activities, and it has conducted detailed risk assessments of its water footprint from both a corporate standpoint and from a local community standpoint.

Molson Coors uses an average of 4.7 hectoliters of water for every liter of water produced in 2010. The decrease follows a slight increase in water usage between 2008 and 2009. By 2013, the company is striving for a 15 percent decrease in water usage against a 2008 baseline year. That would mean it would use about 4.4 hectoliters of water for every liter of beer brewed. The company is in the process of setting 2020 targets.

In materials related to the report's publications, Molson Coors Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer Bart Alexander said:

"We've been brewing beer for generations. Over the years, we've become experts in managing complex water issues. We believe we can make a significant difference by sharing that expertise with our brewing partners and local communities, our suppliers and other water stakeholders."

From an electricity and energy efficiency standpoint, Molson Coors' progress on energy has actually helped it reach its 2012 year-end target for greenhouse gas emissions cuts way before that deadline. Against the 2008 baseline, the company says it has improved emissions by 14 percent since 2008. (Its initial goal was 7 percent for Scope 1 and 2 emissions; it more recently has started focusing on Scope 3 emissions related to its supply chain.)

Molson Coors' ultimate goal when it comes to waste reduction is zero waste. The company doesn't count spent grain from brewing as a waste factor, it treats it as a by-product. Goals in this particular area are segmented depending on the location. For example, Molson Coors' operations in the United Kingdom has commitment to a zero waste goal, ultimately speaking. Since 2008, the company's facilities in the U.K. and Ireland have decreased the amount of waste they send to landfill by 27 percent.

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