In line with its Brewing a Better World, sustainability agenda, Nigerian Breweries Plc has partnered with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO to organise a 3-Day Stakeholder Workshop on Water Stewardship in Nigeria. The workshop was to engage stakeholders on issues of protecting water resources and achieving water balance in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde applauded the Memorandum of Understanding signed between HEINEKEN International B.V. AND UNIDO in February 2015 and said the partnership which covers broad range environmental and sustainability issues including protecting water resources aligns with the company’s desire to create excellent shared value and contribute towards the development of the society and the environment. According to him, this is currently evidenced by the company’s long term sustainability strategy, Brewing a Better World which is hinged on six focus areas: protecting water resources, reducing carbon emission, sourcing sustainably, advocating responsible consumption, ensuring health and safety and growing with communities.
“In the area of protecting water resources, we have set our ambitious targets in our operations. Our aim is that by 2020, we would have reduced our water consumption to 3.5 hectolitres per hectolitre of beer produced in all our breweries except breweries in water stressed areas that have a more stringent target of 3.3 hectolitres per hectolitre of beer. We have also committed to ensure significant water compensation by our production units in water scarce and distressed areas.” Mr. Vervelde added that the expected outcome of the workshop would be a common vision supported by all stakeholders on the most important water issues and on the collective efforts required to enhance water security in Nigeria.
The Country Representative, UNIDO, Mr. David Tommy said that Nigerian Breweries will work with UNIDO, the Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders to identify and overcome cumulative water stress on finite water resources shared by multiple stakeholders in selected catchment areas through collaborative efforts. He emphasized that the Memorandum of Understanding will allow UNIDO and HEINEKEN work together on a range of sustainability issues that will promote growth in developing countries. Nigeria, he said, is one of the seven countries where this collaborative effort will be initially rolled out.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Bukar Hassan, represented by Mr Phillip Bankole, also praised the initiative and said that “it is a clear demonstration of Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility by HEINEKEN and I encourage other corporate organisations to emulate it”.
The workshop brought together important stakeholders from government, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and civil societies, academia, research institutions and water catchment host communities to develop and share a common vision on the root causes of water stress and the necessary mitigation measures to make for sustainable water resources.