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Ambev - Supporting water efficiency in SMEs

Ambev worked with the Carbon Trust, the Avina Foundation and the Brazil Network of the UN Global Compact to develop and launch SAVEh, an online tool for supporting SMEs that want to improve water efficiency.

Drought in Brazil
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Ambev is the largest brewing company in Latin America, with around 100 beer and soft drink brands sold across 19 countries. Headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil – an area that has itself suffered from drought and water shortages – the business is acutely aware of the commercial and sustainability challenges posed by water stress across the region, as well as the need for better water resource management.

Reducing water use and improving water stewardship are key elements in Ambev’s own sustainability efforts. Thanks to its commitment in this area, over the past 13 years the company has successfully reduced its direct water consumption by approximately 40 percent across all of its sites. The company is also a signatory to the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate.

But because water is a shared resource, Ambev recognised despite the company’s best efforts within its own operations, a truly sustainable approach to water management requires engagement from a wide range of stakeholders that access a particular water source. So Ambev wanted to engage with the SMEs in its supply chain, sharing the best practices it had developed to help them improve their approaches to the use of water across its hundreds of breweries.

Working in partnership with the Latin American philanthropic foundation, Fundación Avina, the business decided it would be a good idea to adapt Ambev’s existing brewery water efficiency management system so that it was available and useful for SMEs in different sectors.

Ambev had previously developed a good relationship with the Carbon Trust’s local office in Brazil and selected them as the partner for developing the tool. The business recognised the Carbon Trust’s international expertise in resource efficiency strategies, as well as a long track record of directly supporting SMEs in multiple countries to help them become more sustainable.

The Carbon Trust worked to adapt Ambev’s successful approach to brewery water management into a simplified and broader water management guidance that is suitable for industrial SMEs in any sector.  



In December 2016, Ambev launched the system as a free online platform for SMEs called SAVEh (Self-Assessment System for Water Efficiency). The design provides a user-friendly interface allowing SMEs to go through the process of assessing water use, identifying areas of inefficiency, then building a customised action plan to track and reduce water consumption.

Ambev and Brazil Network of the UN Global Compact followed this up with a series of workshops across Brazil to train companies on how to use of platform effectively.

Download the full Ambev Case Study (PDF)

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