Ball

Water

Because access to fresh water is vital to consumers, our customers, our suppliers and Ball, we hold ourselves accountable for conserving and protecting water resources in our products, the communities where we operate and our entire value chain. A growing world population with greater demands for water-intensive food and energy, combined with increasing water needs and severe pollution of water resources in emerging economies, pose significant water supply constraints in some regions.

WATER STEWARDSHIP

We are responsible stewards of water, using as little as possible for each product we produce. We continue implementing projects to better understand and manage regional and local water impacts. In 2019, Ball used 9.45 million cubic meters of water worldwide, primarily for forming, washing, rinsing and cooling. Our global beverage packaging business accounted for 94% of the total. To ensure we have reliable data, we engaged ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM CVS) to provide limited assurance in relation to our 2019 water consumption. Water-Graphic.jpg

Ball’s most water-intensive process is washing our cans during manufacturing. On average, washers account for about two-thirds of the total water consumption in a beverage can plant. To create efficiencies, Ball’s washer process occurs in counter-current cascades to reuse water at different washing stages.

To better understand, monitor and improve our water usage, Ball continues to invest in breakthrough technologies and innovative equipment that will allow us to change how much water we use in our operations. For example, many plants are replacing traditional deionizing water filtration with reverse osmosis systems. Water that has been treated through reverse osmosis can be recirculated and re-used more easily than water that has been deionized. We also invested in wastewater treatment technologies, evaluated advanced treatment options for effluents and installed several pilot systems to enable water reuse. Additionally, we are transitioning to new washer systems that will improve water efficiency.

In several plants, we also appointed and trained local water champions. These employees analyze water data, control water-consuming equipment and drive enhancements. While our goal is to reduce water consumption as much as possible, we also must diligently monitor the quality of produced cans. If we reduce the water intake of washers too much, the quality of our cans is affected and spoilage increases.

Because water is used in many steps along the packaging value chain—whether in mining and metal manufacturing or electricity generation—as well as in the production of the products that are put into our packaging, we maintain an open dialogue with our suppliers, customers and the communities where we operate.
Case Study: Brazil Embraces Water in Cans

Water is by far the most consumed drink on earth. As sustainability requirements evolve, more and more customers are switching from old, non-circular packaging to our sustainable cans to hold this precious liquid.

In 2019, we developed a special can for the country that has the largest water supply on Earth: Brazil. The country reserves account for over 14% of all freshwater available in the planet, so taking good care of this precious resource is increasingly important. This includes offering water products in the most sustainable packaging choice: Ball cans.
Two major customers started to lead this trend in South America. AB-InBev/Ambev, the largest beverage company in the world, decided to commercialize their water brand AMA in a beautiful new can made by Ball. 100% of the profits from AMA goes to projects that improve access to water in poor communities in the Northeast of Brazil, which combines social and environmental stewardship.

“The AMA can is an innovation in the market: one more option for consumers who, in addition to staying hydrated, will be able to help the environment and people who live without access to drinking water. This is a very special launch for us and once again place sustainability as a central pillar of our business. We like to repeat: our dream is to bring people together for a better world. Canned AMA is another step in that direction. ” Richard Lee, Head of Sustainability for Ambev.

In the same direction, the largest water company in the country, Minalba Brasil, part of the Edson Queiroz Group, also decided to offer their product in our cans. Produced in the middle of the Atlantic rainforest mountains, above 1,700 m altitude, Minalba was looking for the best packaging solution. Over the course of several months, Ball developed a special and innovative can that was able to maintain all that freshness of the natural mineral water on the go, both still and sparkling.

“This launch is directly linked to the Minalba's attentive look for new consumer behaviors. There is a growing search for a more sustainable life and our brand has that purpose. It is connected with the Edson Queiroz Group mission of being present in people's lives, delivering easiness and well-being through sustainable businesses and committed to current and future generations.” Abelardo Rocha, President of the Edson Queiroz Group.

Both products are expected to hit the market in 2020.

MAPPING OUR WATER-RELATED RISKS

By making use of the globally recognized WRI Aqueduct tool, we have established that the majority of our beverage packaging plants today (57%) are in low or low-to-medium water risk locations, with 23% in medium-to-high risk areas. However, 18.5% are in high risk areas, with the remaining 1.5% designated as extremely high risk. WRI considers issues such as water stress, baseline depletion, interannual and seasonal variability, groundwater table decline, coastal and riverine flood risks, drought propensity, untreated wastewater, coastal eutrophication potential and the availability of drinking water.

We continue to focus on reducing water usage across our plants; however, we focus our effors on plants where water availability is an issue for local communities or where it creates operational challenges for us. We use these insights when planning new plants or introducing more water-intensive products at existing ones.