Water plays a crucial role in the running of our business. It fills around 95% of finished beer products, and is a key part of our supply chain - from growing raw materials like hops and malt, to cleaning our plant equipment. As one of our company’s most important resources, we know how important it is to protect it.

Our approach

At a global level, HEINEKEN is part of the United Nations CEO Water Mandate, a water stewardship programme that provides support and resources for businesses. And locally, our goal is to foster sustainable waterways and habitats, through careful water stewardship.

All our breweries, except for Tui, source their water from reticulated municipal supplies that are rated low water stress. Timaru, the home of our second-largest brewery, can see moderate water stress during the occasional drought over summer. Our breweries can affect water quality in New Zealand, by generating wastewater that needs to be treated before being returned to the environment.

By implementing a series of incremental steps, we‘ve managed to reduce our water consumption by 25% over the last decade. We’re carrying on this approach, developing annual master plans and having regular team meetings to monitor our progress – as well as empowering individual action to address water waste.

Our key targets and performance

We’re working hard to make sure that our total water consumption per hectolitre of beer or cider produced reduces every year.

Key measures 2020 target 2017 2016 2015
Water consumption (hl / hl) 2.9 3.2 3.3 3.47
Water discharge (COD kg / hl to surface water) 0 1.131 1.064 0.862

Looking ahead

We will continue to reduce our water consumption in production, and investing in water stewardship programmes. Timaru is an area that we’ll be particularly focused on – investing in more ways to improve wastewater treatment in the area.

Learn more

For an in-depth look at our priorities and progress around protecting water resources, have a read of our 2017 sustainability report

Case study: the Waitemata lake project


During 2017, we have been working to restore the storm water lake at our Waitemata brewery into a sanctuary for local wildlife, and a recreation area for DB employees. The lake sits at the start of the Tamaki estuary – an important habitat for a variety of wildlife, including a number of endangered species.

Read more