Monday, May 28, 2012

Budweiser's "Grow One Save A Million" idea an example of greenwashing? Or real a water saving idea?

Budweiser, really, is this the best way to save a significant amount of water?  Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Budweiser, proved recently the company should probably lay off drinking so much of its product, when the marketing department sent out a press release urging men to "Grow One, Save a Million".  The gimmick (beyond the near-pornographic headline) is to save water by growing a beard.  The formulation is that men who do not shave, are not spending water while shaving (because they're not shaving), and thereby consuming less water.

Budweiser, What have you been drinking?  Wait, I've been on the factory tour in St. Louis and I know just what you've been drinking.

Somewhat seriously ... some men who shave are consuming water while shaving.  Obviously these are the ones who use shaving cream and a razor.  The water is consumed to clear whiskers and cream off the razor, and to wash up the face later.  Other men who shave do not use water, those are the ones like me who use an electric shaver rather than a razor.  Another class of men who do not use water to shave are those who grow their beards, as Budweiser suggests.

The issue is the water which simply goes down the bathroom sink drain while performing the morning shaving ritual.  What other ways could we save water, while still performing this ritual?

  • Use an electric shaver rather than a razor with shaving cream.  The electric razor is simpler, has a much lower risk of butchering ones face, and does not require water.
  • Learn to turn off the faucet unless absolutely needed.  The problem with most faucets is they're designed to encourage you to leave the water running, because it's inconvenient to turn the water on and off.  If it were simpler to turn the water on and off I think we could start talking men into doing so.
  • Shave every other day?  Or skip shaving on weekends?  In other words, who says you must be totally clean shaven every day?  Okay, maybe it's She Who Must Be Obeyed who says so?  
However I still have to draw attention to the question:  Is this the most significant thing Budweiser could think of to save water?  Really?  This smacks me as an example of greenwashing.  What do you think?  The press release is replicated below.

Budweiser's "Grow One. Save a Million." Campaign Asks Guys to Skip Shaving to Help Save Water for World Environment Day

Actor Nick Offerman Helps Lead the Charge by Asking Both Men and Women to Join the Effort

ST. LOUIS, May 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Shave or save? That's the question Budweiser is asking men across the country to consider each morning as they pick up their razors, for with every shave a man skips, he will save roughly five gallons of water.* The initiative is part of Budweiser's Grow One. Save a Million. water conservation campaign leading up to World Environment Day on Tuesday, June 5.

For the second year in a row, actor Nick Offerman is serving as the campaign's spokesperson, seizing the opportunity to make an impact with his beard.

"Contrary to my usual philosophy, by doing nothing, you can actually do something," says Offerman. "Put down your razor. Step away from the sink. And know that by shaving a few minutes from your morning routine, you're also saving the planet."

Women can get involved by asking a guy to Grow One on their behalf. Both men and women can take additional pledges to shorten their showers and/or turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth. Consumers 21 and older can visit Budweiser's Facebook page ( to join Offerman in making a pledge and invite their friends to do the same. Participants can commit to a range of options, from a few days to multiple weeks, as well as upload photos of their stubble and full-grown beards to the Grow OnePhoto Booth.

"It's great to have Nick join us in celebrating World Environment Day and leading the charge to encourage adults to take simple steps to help conserve water," said Kathy Casso, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Anheuser-Busch. "Grow One is a fun way to spread the word about Budweiser's commitment to water conservation. In fact, our breweries have reduced water use by 37 percent in the past four years alone."

As part of its annual recognition of World Environment Day, Budweiser will again donate $150,000 to River Network to help support watershed conservation projects in each of the company's brewery cities, as well as Oklahoma City and Idaho Falls. Some of these projects include:
  • Cartersville, Ga. - Working with the Upper Etowah River Alliance to support watershed restoration and educate brewery employees on rainwater collection systems.
  • Merrimack, N.H. - Brewery employees are working with the New Hampshire Rivers Council (NHRC) to enhance the McQuesten Brook watershed. On Friday, June 1, volunteers will spruce up the shoreline with the NHRC and project partners from the city of Manchester and the town of Bedford.
  • St. Louis, Mo. - Brewery and corporate employees will participate in a cleanup along the St. Louis riverfront with Living Lands & Waters on June 2. This is the eleventh year Anheuser-Busch and its employees have led a large-scale cleanup effort along its hometown's riverfront.
World Environment Day is a day set aside by the United Nations to create awareness of the environment and encourage participation in sustainability programs. Anheuser-Busch and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, annually recognize this day and engage employees around the world in conservation projects that are beneficial to the environment and their local communities.

About River Network

River Network is leading a national watershed protection movement that includes more than 2,000 local, state and regional and local grassroots organizations whose primary mission is to protect rivers and watersheds. For more than twenty years, River Network has worked closely with watershed protection groups from coast to coast - building the capacity of state and local organizations, assisting people grappling with water and environmental health problems, protecting habitat for fish and wildlife, developing blue cities, and reducing our country's use of water and energy. To learn more about River Network, visit or Facebook.

About Anheuser-Busch

Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch is the leading American brewer, holding a 47.7 percent share of U.S. beer sales to retailers. The company brews Budweiser and Bud Light, two of the world's largest-selling beers. Anheuser-Busch also owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico's leading brewer. Anheuser-Busch is a major manufacturer of aluminum cans and has been a leading aluminum recycler for more than 30 years. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the leading global brewer, and continues to operate under the Anheuser-Busch name and logo. For more information, visit

*The average shave uses 3-10 gallons of water.

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