Anheuser-Busch recently announced that it will start running environmentally focused TV ads the week of April 21, touting its green beer production (in terms of energy, not beer color) and making it the first macrobrew to promote any kind of green ideology.
“Our pledge is to continually seek to operate and efficiently maintain our quality standards, while considering our environmental impact in order to be better stewards of the world in which we live,” touts the A-B website.
Being a beer fan, I was sufficiently intrigued to investigate. Here’s what I found: in 2006, Anheuser-Busch Recycling Corp. recycled more than 27 billion cans, far more than it used in its own packaging. A-B has reduced water consumption by 3% since 2002, has set a short-term goal of reducing energy consumption 5% by 2010, and is dedicated to increasing it renewable fuel use from 8 to 15% in the same period. Most important, A-B recaptures energy trapped in excess brewing water through its Bio-Energy Recovery System — enough energy to heat more than 25,000 homes.
Is it just rhetoric or is Anheuser-Busch putting its money where its wide-mouth can is? It’s hard to tell because of the marketing scramble to seem green while continuing business as usual. While A-B is clearly taking steps to reduce emissions, water consumption, and waste production, it may just be for cost savings, not concern for the earth. Either way, these are steps in the right direction, and I’m not aware of other companies that are this far into the renewable game. Certainly we’ll see other macrobrewers follow suit.
Drink cheap beer, save the planet.