Brewer renews pledge to protect water resources

Tank (second from left) presenting a certificate to Faizal. With them are Roland (left) and Renuka.

Heineken Malaysia Berhad renewed its commitment to conserve water resources through the launch of its Towards Healthy Watersheds 2030 programme.

Its managing director Roland Bala said he was proud of the company’s initiatives and achievements since the start of its W.A.T.E.R project (Working Actively Through Education & Rehabilitation) in 2007.

The W.A.T.E.R project is an initiative by Spark Foundation, the brewery’s corporate social responsibility arm in partnership with Global Environment Centre (GEC), to protect local water sources, reduce demand for treated water through alternative water systems for communities and contribute towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Six – Clean Water and Sanitisation.

“I was standing by Sungai Penchala (behind the Sungai Penchala Information Centre) today and was surprised to see a big fish swimming in it. There was an angler nearby, too.

“I could not have imagined that a polluted river could be rehabilitated,” he said, adding that the river was now a good place for recreational activities.

He was speaking before announcing a RM6mil allocation during the event at the Sungai Penchala Information Centre in Petaling Jaya.

Roland said as a brewery, the company believed it was necessary to be responsible in order to be sustainable.

“That’s why we are taking a proactive approach to work with stakeholders and collaborate on projects to ensure the long-term sustainability of our water resources.

“Today, we announce our renewed commitment to increase our water efficiency, improve water circularity and continue to fully balance the water in our products as we have done since 2020,” he said.

“Besides water, we also have ambitious targets to reach net-zero carbon emissions in production by 2030 and the wider value chain by 2040.

“Last year, we transitioned to 100% renewable energy through the Malaysian Renewable Energy Certificate (mREC) programme.

Kalithasan (left) briefing Tank on river network and rehabilitation programmes after the launch at Sungai Penchala Information Centre in Petaling Jaya.Kalithasan (left) briefing Tank on river network and rehabilitation programmes after the launch at Sungai Penchala Information Centre in Petaling Jaya.

“This year, we will launch solar energy generation on-site at our Sungai Way brewery.

“In terms of waste management, we have achieved zero waste to the landfill since 2017.

“We have a roadmap in place, and we are committed to taking the necessary actions to achieve our 2030 goals,” he said.

Also present were Heineken N.V. corporate affairs chief and transformation officer Stacey Tank, GEC director Faizal Parish and its river care programme manager Dr K. Kalithasan.

Heineken Malaysia corporate affairs and legal director Renuka Indrarajah said there was real danger if efforts were not taken to preserve water sources now, as it has been predicted there would be a 40% shortfall in fresh water supply in 10 years.

On environmental responsibility, Renuka said Heineken Malaysia made a commitment towards achieving healthy watersheds.

Among others, she said the company was proud of its overachievement in water balance.

“We have a target to balance 1.5 litres of water for every 1 litre of water in our products.

“In 2020, we achieved 267% of our water-balancing target and 289% in 2021.

“This was achieved through science-based water stewardship initiatives focusing on the continued rehabilitation and conservation of Sungai Way, Sungai Penchala and Sungai Selangor.

“We are committed to continue expanding our efforts, in partnership with like-minded stakeholders including fellow corporates, non-governmental organisations, local communities as well as relevant authorities,” she said.

Renuka also spoke about some of Heineken’s completed projects towards healthy watersheds.

“In Raja Musa Forest Reserve (Hulu Selangor), we built a 300m clay dyke to help conserve water in the peatland and prevent fires.

“The project conserves 136 million cubic metres of water every year.

“We also reforested 2ha of a forest by replanting some 600 trees to increase soil-water retention, prevent further degradation of the peat and prevent peatland fires.

“We have also introduced rainwater-harvesting initiatives in the local communities by building 36 such systems across the country.

“In some communities, we have also constructed community gardens, whereby the water collected can be used to water the plants,” she added.

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