OOSKAnews Talks - Andre Fourie, Global Director, Water, Anheuser-Busch Inbev: Accelerating Water Security In High Risk Watersheds

1 Nov 2018 by OOSKAnews Correspondent
LONDON, United Kingdom

Andre Fourie is Global Director, Water Sustainability at Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI), the world's largest brewer. He leads the company’s work on water stewardship such as investing in watershed protection in high-stress areas. ABI’s portfolio comprises over 500 beer brands includes global brands Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, and numerous multi-country brands.

In this audio conversation with David Duncan, OOSKAnews, Fourie describes the corporate, shareholder value case for responsible water use in the beverage sector and the challenges of responsible water stewardship in disparate geographies.

Fourie also comments on two new global water security partnerships which ABI, with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and WWF announced ahead of October’s WWF-Financial Times Water Summit in London which aim to “accelerate water security in some of the most high-risk watersheds globally”.

The first phase of the TNC global partnership is to focus on Latin America with development of four new Water Funds in Colombia, El Salvador, Argentina and Mexico. Initiatives aim to unite public, private and civil society stakeholders around the common goal of contributing to water security through nature-based solutions and sustainable watershed management. In addition to improved water security, benefits for communities will include improved agriculture, job creation and climate resilience.

Andrea Erickson, Global Managing Director of Water at TNC said, “The scale of the challenges we face and the speed at which they are growing require innovation and evolution in our alliances. This partnership with AB InBev builds on our shared vision of a water secure future: where people, commerce and nature all have reliable, equitable access to clean water. We hope it will inspire other companies to incorporate nature-based solutions into their water stewardship endeavors.”

ABI’s partnership with WWF in Bolivia and a number of African countries including South Africa and Zambia builds on previous collaborations that involved water risk assessments and the development of influential reports, for example highlighting the value of water to the economy. Together, WWF and ABI are to develop blended finance approaches to encourage private sector investment at the scale required to improve water access and quality, enhance the health of river basins, and ensure the needs of local communities are met. For example, in the Kafue Flats wetlands in Zambia, the partnership will deliver financing projects to address the current pressures on the landscape.

“AB InBev has been at the forefront of water stewardship over the past decade, assessing water risks to their operations, setting targets and engaging beyond their factory fence: our new partnership will drive even greater collective action that will benefit economies and ecosystems,” said Stuart Orr, WWF Lead Freshwater Practice. “We will never achieve the (Sustainable Development Goals) SDGs without harnessing the power of partnerships: AB InBev’s work with WWF and TNC is a great example of how to do this.”

“The need to take action on global water security is now. More than just a key ingredient in our beer, water is a critical resource for the economic, social and environmental well-being of the countries where we operate and the communities where we live,” ABI’s Fourie said in a press release at the time of the announcement.

“Earlier in 2018 AB InBev announced a new set of 2025 sustainability goals, which include a progressive commitment to measurable improvement in water quality and availability in high risk communities. We are deeply aware that these issues cannot be tackled alone. That’s why we are entering into critical partnerships that will demonstrate impact on a global scale, at the pace that is needed.”