What the World’s Largest Brewer is Doing for WASH

Quick fact: It takes around 20 gallons of water to make a pint of beer. Now imagine how much water Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABInBev)—the world’s largest brewer—uses on a daily basis. The big beer maker isn’t turning a blind eye to the fact that water is a scarce resource, and it’s becoming increasingly scarce by the minute.

Not only is AB InBev addressing water usage and sustainability matters though its water management systems that include improving barley farming practices, reducing water usage, watershed protection, and water reuse programs, it’s also made some big commitments to WASH issues.

At the beginning of this year, ABInBev launched its first ever global social impact campaign through its Stella Artois brand. As it's the first of its kind for the brewing conglomerate, it tapped a well-known WASH organization to forward its cause—Water.org.

The campaign, called “Buy a Lady a Drink,” is working to put an end to the collective 200 million hours women and girls around the world spend collecting water for their families. Stella Artois made an initial $1.2 million donation to the campaign and is encouraging consumers to buy its limited edition Chalice (offered exclusively through Amazon.com at $12 each), to add to the campaign’s coffers. Each purchase will help Water.org give one person in the developing world up to five years of clean water.  

Related: Water.org’s Funding Hot Streak Continues with a $1 Million Score. What’s its Secret Weapon?

Water.org is a funding darling in the world of WASH. Cofounded by Gary White and Matt Damon, Water.org has been on a fundraising hot streak lately. Over the past year or so, Water.org has received a handful of large commitments including: 

  • $8.3 million from the Caterpillar Foundation
  • $6.3 million from the IKEA Foundation
  • $1.3 million from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • $2.9 million from the Helmsley Charitable Trust 

The Buy a Lady a Drink campaign may be a cheeky play on words, but it’s a bit deeper than that, because it brings gender equality to the forefront at ABInBev, which, as far as we can tell, hasn’t been a huge funding issue for the company. Of course, gender equality has gained a great deal of prominence lately and corporate funders and foundations are getting a little bolder in their grantmaking by jumping in to fund today’s hot topic issues.

Water.org has always had a gender angle in its work, which makes sense as women and girls are typically tasked with the responsibility of fetching water for their families. Women also represent over 90 percent of borrowers for Water.org’s flagship program, WaterCredit.