Heineken Malaysia announces renewed sustainability commitment towards healthy watersheds

Heineken Malaysia Berhad (HEINEKEN Malaysia) renewed its commitment to conserve water resources through its Towards Healthy Watersheds programme, in line with the Company’s Brew a Better World 2030 sustainability strategy. In its 2030 roadmap, the brewer strengthens its environmental responsibility by committing towards clean, safe, and sustainable watersheds, with an investment of RM6 million in phase four of its W.A.T.E.R Project.

Roland Bala, Managing Director of HEINEKEN Malaysia, said as a progressive brewer, the company believe that it is critical to be responsible in order to be sustainable. Therefore it is taking a proactive approach to work with stakeholders and collaborate on projects to ensure the long-term sustainability of their water resources. At a launch event, the company announced their renewed commitment to increase their water efficiency, improve water circularity, and continue to fully balance the water in our products as they have done since 2020.

Besides water, the company also have ambitious targets to reach Net Zero Carbon emissions in production by 2030 and the wider value chain by 2040. In 2022, Heineken transitioned to 100% renewable electricity through the Malaysian Renewable Energy Certificate (mREC) programme. This year, they would be launching solar energy generation onsite at their Sungei Way Brewery. In terms of waste management, they have achieved zero waste to landfill since 2017. The company has a roadmap in place, and are committed to taking the necessary actions to achieve their 2030 goals.

HEINEKEN’s 2030 Brew a Better World strategy is a set of ambitious commitments aimed at driving a positive impact on the environment, social sustainability, and responsible consumption – all with a focus on delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). HEINEKEN Malaysia is: 

  • On the path towards net zero impact

The brewer’s environmental sustainability ambition focuses on raising the bar in reaching carbon neutrality, maximizing circularity, and working towards healthy watersheds.

  • On the path to an inclusive, fair, and equitable company and world

The brewer’s social sustainability ambition focuses on embracing inclusion and diversity, building a fairer and safer workplace, and investing in local communities.

  • On the path to moderation and no harmful use 

The brewer’s responsible consumption ambition focuses on empowering consumers by providing choice, transparency, and zero tolerance for harmful use. 

In working towards healthy watersheds, the W.A.T.E.R project (Working Actively Through Education & Rehabilitation) is an initiative aimed at protecting and rehabilitating rivers. The project was launched in 2007 by the Company’s CSR arm, SPARK Foundation in partnership with the Global Environment Centre. The W.A.T.E.R Project designs and executes water stewardship initiatives 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. 

HEINEKEN Malaysia’s Corporate Affairs & Legal Director, Renuka Indrarajah said it is their responsibility to protect water resources extends beyond their immediate operations within their brewery.

“Water is not only essential as a key ingredient for our products, it is also the source of all life. As water consumers, we have a responsibility to work together and do our part to protect our water resources externally. We do this by investing in water stewardship initiatives that focus on river rehabilitation, water conservation and alternative water systems projects. 

“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.”

HEINEKEN Malaysia’s Towards Health Watersheds commitment employs a three-pronged approach: 

  • Water Efficiency: In 2022, HEINEKEN Malaysia improved its water efficiency by 20% to 3.45 hectolitres per hectolitre (hl/hl) compared against its 2014 baseline. The brewer targets to reduce water consumption by a further 25% to 2.6 hl/hl by 2030. To achieve this, HEINEKEN Malaysia will be upgrading its machine and utility upgrades, recovering and reusing treated wastewater for non-potable use, reducing wastage and leakage, as well as investing in cleaning innovations.
  • Water Circularity: HEINEKEN Malaysia aims to treat, reuse, and recycle all wastewater produced in the brewery. Before discharging its wastewater, HEINEKEN Malaysia treats 100% of the used water above the standards required by the Department of Environment. The brewer is also continuously exploring new ways to maximise water circularity through recovering, reusing, and recycling its treated wastewater onsite.
  • Water Balancing: HEINEKEN Malaysia has achieved its water balancing commitment in 2020, 10 years ahead of its 2030 commitment. Its high-impact water stewardship initiatives include:
    • Continued rehabilitation and conservation of Sungai Way as a model urban river in an industrial zone, as a best practice of industry-community partnership. The company aims to maintain river water quality at Class III or better, through the construction and enhancement of wetland islands as well as pollution control at source initiatives.
    • The installation and maintenance of rainwater harvesting systems, which help mitigate water disruptions and help communities reduce reliance on treated water for non-potable usage as well as relieve pressure on our water resources. To date, there are 23 rainwater harvesting systems built for local communities which are linked to 10 community farming projects that supplement community income and food.
    • Work on initiatives to support the long-term sustainability of Sungai Selangor basin as a key water source for the Klang Valley, including reforestation of degraded peatland and increases the peatland’s water table through an innovative clay dyke to increase water holding capacity, especially during dry seasons. This effectively raises the water table which also reduces the risk of peat fires.