Through a variety of efforts, including a river cleanup and growing facial hair, employees of Anheuser Busch's Cartersville Brewery are taking action to recognize World Environment Day.
While many local environmental efforts culminate in April around Earth Day, Anheuser-Busch In-Bev, now part of an international corporation with facilities around the globe, celebrates environmental awareness through the United Nations sponsored World Environment Day officially observed Tuesday.
"This is not new for us. The only thing that's different the last couple of years, is now we've set aside a day by the United Nations," said Michelle Kelly, Cartersville brewery environmental health, safety and security manager. "Before, we'd always participated domestically but now we've coupled with the United Nations to create global awareness of the environment and encourage participation in the activities that reduce impact. Water conservation is huge for us as a company and we've been very successful at that."
Conservation efforts are evident at the Cartersville brewery having surpassed every AB-InBev facility in water stewardship as 100 percent of water used in production is reclaimed and reused.
Outside of production, employees of the Cartersville brewery redoubled conservation efforts in the days leading up to World Environment Day with an Etowah River cleanup on Saturday where 29 employees and their families took to the river in canoes and on foot to pick up trash.
"We started on Saturday and it was a pretty exciting day for us. We kicked off the event with the Etowah River cleanup. We had about 29 of our employees and their family members participate," Kelly said. "On a Saturday, to get almost 30 people out, especially during this time of the year at a huge vacation time on Memorial Day weekend -- to have that many people and family members come out and commit to cleaning up the river by canoe and land is pretty huge."
Volunteers from the brewery also pledged to grow a beard for World Environment Day as Anheuser Busch employees and family members opted to forgo shaving for one week. Three to 10 gallons are used each time a man shaves and the water-conservation pledge taken by Anheuser Busch employees aims to engage participants by actively saving that water while remind others of their personal impact on the environment.
"Our brewery alone has over 214 participants, 97 of which are employees that have pledged either to quit shaving or reduce the amount of water they are using," Kelly said. "This is the third year AB employees have stopped shaving for a week leading up to World Environment Day. Last year, we had about 2,300 employees take the pledge.
"Our employees are very knowledgeable about conservation efforts and I think that drives a lot of the engagement. We focus a lot on providing information on how it has helped the local community as well as from a global and domestic perspective."
World Environment Day observations continued Tuesday with a series of Lunch and Learn workshops presented for each shift by the Upper Etowah River Alliance. Employees learned about rain water harvesting and drought-resistant gardening to reduce the need for irrigation.
For more information on AB-InBev and the company's environmental efforts, visit www.ab-inbev.com.