06/04/2010 11:37 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

UN World Environmental Day: A Rallying Point

Climate change, water scarcity, energy independence -- these topics are making front-page news every day. But no matter your view, there's no disputing that our natural resources are limited and must be used wisely, with an emphasis on lightening our impact on the planet.

Environmental responsibility is important, not only because it is the right way to operate, but because it is a fundamental pillar of our long-term business strategy. At Anheuser-Busch InBev, we track our environmental impacts as closely as we measure our financial performance data. And as the world's biggest brewer, we are acutely aware of natural resource needs across our supply chain, in particular the principal ingredient in our products: water.

Efficient water use is essential to the continued, sustainable growth of our business around the world, which is why we have set an ambitious goal to bring our water use down to 3.5 hectoliters of water for each hectoliter of production by the end of 2012 -- a 30 percent reduction per unit of production from 2007, which will save enough water to fill 25,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

We are confident we can reach this goal because of the tremendous strides we have already made in certain breweries around the world. In the United States, our Cartersville, Ga., brewery is already ahead of the 3.5 goal. Our Wernigerode brewery in Germany set the bar last year, achieving an annual water use ratio of 3.09. And the Jaguariuna brewery in Brazil has driven water use down by 9 percent from 2007 to 2009, saving more than 1.7 million hectoliters of water. None of this progress would have been possible without the ingenuity and determination of our employees, who are constantly identifying improvements at every stage of the brewing process.

Our new water goal is just one of the aggressive global environmental goals we announced in March as part of our vision to be the Best Beer Company in a Better World -- our commitment to encourage responsible drinking, environmental sustainability, and community engagement. In addition to the water reduction goal, we have set a goal of achieving a 99 percent recycling and reuse rate and a 10 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and energy use per hectoliter of production by the end of 2012.

In addition, we also work on environmental issues outside our brewery walls with our suppliers and community partners. Today, as part of these efforts, we are celebrating World Environment Day (WED), an initiative of the United Nations, along with many of our local community partners. We've seen how World Environment Day can be an effective rallying point for our employees and our partners to take concrete action on environmental issues.

Commemorated annually since 1972, World Environment Day is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

Last year, our breweries and facilities carried out 250 separate activities across 24 countries, from river clean-ups to bike-to-work days and recycling drives.

This year, we have chosen to focus our activities on water conservation, in line with our goal of becoming the world's most water-efficient global brewer, and we anticipate an even higher level of engagement from our employees.

While there may not be agreement on every environmental issue, we must all do our part to contribute to positive progress in helping preserve and protect the world around us. On this World Environment Day, let's take the opportunity to help make the dream of a "Better World" a reality for our generation...and generations to come.