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Heineken Spain and The Junta de Andalucia renew agreement to protect Doñana's Water news

Heineken Spain and The Junta de Andalucia renew agreement to protect Doñana's Water

Heineken Spain and the Regional Government of Andalusia have renewed its agreement for the Doñana project to continue working on the environmental conservation of this Biosphere Reserve.

 This programme, which started in 2016 and is to be continued until the end of 2026, is an example of public-private collaboration that also involves the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation and the NGO SEO/BirdLife.

The programme not only is set to maintain the lagoons, but will also contribute to the creation of an oasis of biodiversity in the surroundings of one of the richest wetlands in Andalusia and Spain.

With an investment of more than 370,000 euros  to date, a figure that will increase to almost half a million over the following two years, the actions in Doñana have made Heineken Spain the first brewer in Spain to replenish more water to its source of origin than all contained in its beers: more than 1,900 million litres of water each year – 1,000 of them in Andalusia, as certified by the University of Granada and certified by DNV.

An amount that can increase in rainy seasons such as those of this hydrographic year, which in just five months -from September 2023 to the end of February 2023 has already accumulated 718 million litres.

Heineken Spain's work in the Doñana area began with the restoration of four wetlands: the lagoons of Dehesa de Abajo, Pardillas, San Lázaro and El Lince, improving their water and ecological functionality.

Once the semi-permanent nature of these lagoons has been guaranteed, the brewery has focused on maintaining their condition to make good use of the rainfall and increase the water they store, as well as favouring their public use by adapting the area to make it more attractive to visit.

In addition to collecting all the rainwater in the area, with more than 718 million liters during the current hydrographic year, it has contributed to the improvement of habitats of species in danger of extinction (aquatic species such as the marbled teal and mammals such as the lynx, which breed in these lagoons).

With the implementation of the new agreement signed by Heineken Spain and the Regional Government of Andalusia, the Doñana Project will incorporate innovations such as the installation of dovecotes and shelters for bats, an animal of great value according to the UN for its role in mitigating climate change, the recovery of wetlands and the control of mosquito pests.

Water is a priority for Heineken worldwide, which is reinforced in countries with high water stress such as Spain, where the company brews beers such as Amstel, Cruzcampo, Heineken® or El Águila. Water is an essential resource for brewing beer. And since 95% of beer is water, the company is determined at protecting with a triangular strategy, through efficiency, circularity and compensation.

The roadmap starts in its factories, with an ambitious efficiency plan by Heineken Spain that in the last fifteen years – since 2008 – has allowed it to reduce water consumption per litre of beer brewed by 41%.

It currently uses 2.9 litres per litre of beer produced and will continue to work to bring this figure down to 2.6 litres by 2025, almost half of what it used in 2008 (4.9 litres). A goal that it has already achieved at its brewery in Seville and that it aspires to achieve at a national level five years before the date that Heineken has set itself at a global level in countries with water stress.

The second side of the triangle is circularity, with a double objective. On the one hand, to ensure the treatment of 100% of the water used in cleaning and maintenance processes (1.4 litres per litre of beer brewed) to replenish it to the environment with the necessary quality. And on the other hand, to make it possible for other nearby industries, farmers and nature itself to reuse treated water through its recovery and recycling.

But there is a part of the water, the one contained in the beer itself (1 liter) and the one that evaporates in the brewing process (0.5 liters), that Heineken cannot stop consuming.

That is why the company integrates the concept of compensation into its strategy and invests in nature-based solutions to replenish water that it cannot reduce, purify or reuse in its basins of origin. With its projects in Doñana, the Albufera and the banks of the Jarama, it replenishes more than 1,900 million litres of water a year to the river basins that feed its factories in Seville, Jaén, Valencia and Madrid.

An amount higher than the target that had been set (1,500 million) and that in hydrographic years such as the current one has already reached 1,432 million liters in just five months.

The impact of these projects, developed together with public administrations, associations, universities, NGOs and volunteers, represents improvements in terms of water and in the biodiversity of restored ecosystems.