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SDG 17 & HEINEKEN, CGF MemberSustainable Development Goal 17 is clear in that it states action “requires a revitalised and enhanced global partnership that brings together governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other actors”.  Here at HEINEKEN, we take partnerships increasingly as an opportunity to drive our sustainability strategy. Whether it is through our collaborative work as a Board-member company of The Consumer Goods Forum or through our individual cross-sectoral initiatives. We fully acknowledge the benefits of working together, with our peers and other stakeholders, and the collaborative role the private sector can and should be playing. We are now seeing the success of such partnerships around the world.
One such success story is our work on water.  
Reducing Our Environmental Impact; Educating Communities
Water comprises over 90% of beer.  The availability of clean water with the purest quality is, therefore, key for our breweries everywhere. And not only for us. Sustainable watersheds are essential for communities around the world. 
Consequently, we focus on where we can achieve the biggest impact. 23 of HEINEKEN's breweries operate in regions that are labelled as water scarce now or in the foreseeable future. As part of our 'Brewing a Better World'-strategy (BaBW), we design water stewardship initiatives primarily in those areas, and focus on four objectives:
  1. Reduce our water intake;
  2. Reclaim/purify our water used;
  3. Contribute to long-term viability of broader catchment area; and
  4. Stimulate other local players for their contribution.
Investing in sustainable watersheds is a schoolbook example for creating shared value. By safeguarding local resources, we secure the investments in our breweries and operations.
HEINEKEN, Water Stewardship, UNIDO Nigeria  HEINEKEN, Water Stewardship, Tree Planting, UNIDO
Partnering with the United Nations on Water Stewardship
In the past three years, we have accelerated our partnership agenda with customers, NGOs and IGOs on various BaBW topics. Since 2015, we have been working together with the United Nations Industrial Development Goals Organisation (UNIDO). Deploying water stewardship initiatives is one of the distinct cooperation platforms with them.* 
UNIDO brings four distinct benefits to the table:
  1. As an unbiased broker, they invite all relevant players to local workshops.
  2. UNIDO has developed a clear-cut workshop methodology in order to generate necessary action for long-term sustainability.
  3. They utilise their partner network of partner governments to endorse the action identified.
  4. Finally, UNIDO establish contacts with international finance and donor organisations that support water stewardship initiatives.
In the past months, we have organised workshops in Ethiopia and Nigeria, with Indonesia and more markets in the pipeline. 
Ongoing Work Around the WWF International Assessment
Water scarcity is an evolving agenda. Catchment areas that are prospering today, might run short of water tomorrow. Therefore, we are committed to regularly monitor the regions in which we operate. In late 2015, we invited WWF International for a comprehensive water risk assessment.
As a result, we have identified more than 10 breweries that will be added to the list of 23 shortly. And, by that, make sure to keep water available for both producing our more than 250 beers worldwide and the communities we operate in!
In short, we are better together. Only through industry collaboration and broader cross-sectoral collaborations can we ever hope to tackle the environmental and social issues facing our businesses, our consumers and our planet. SDG 17 is the glue that holds the other 16 SDGs together, and without such collaborative actions the SDGs will be nothing but words on a page. One thing is for sure, at HEINEKEN we will continue to show leadership and work with our peers through The Consumer Goods Forum and with other stakeholders, like the UN, more broadly as we look to ensure the future of both our business and the planet.
*The other two areas are identifying local sourcing projects as well as stimulating renewable energy solution for our African communities. For the entire scope of this partnership, please watch this video:

Michael Dickstein, HEINEKENThis post was written and contributed by:
Michael Dickstein
Director Global Sustainable Development
HEINEKEN International (Amsterdam)

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