MONTREAL, Dec. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The brewing industry is disappointed in the announcement, yesterday morning, by the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP) regarding the Regulation respecting royalties for water usage.
The brewing industry believes it is important that Quebec's public policies recover a portion of the social costs of water usage, recognizing that this is a collective resource. It is therefore in favour of the concept of royalties for water usage. However, it would like to see charges imposed based on actual usage of the resource. It deplores the fact that the Regulation makes no distinction between the various uses to which water is put within a given company or industry.
The Regulation merely divides the industries into categories and applies various royalty rates, without taking into account the actual use of the resource. Thus, the Regulation sets one royalty rate of $70 per million litres of water consumed ($0.07/m³) which applies to industries that the government has identified as using water entirely for commercial purposes, that is to say, in their finished product. A second rate, 28 times lower than the first, has been set at $2.50 per million litres of water consumed ($0.0025/m³) which applies to all other economic sectors.
The Regulation wrongly identifies the brewing industry as being subject to only the first rate. Indeed, water is one of the most important primary ingredients in beer production. However, a volume of water approximately 3 or 4 times greater than that which goes into the bottles is also used in the manufacturing processes and for the cleaning of multiple-use bottles. This means that over 75% of the water used by the brewing industry is returned to the ecosystem after it has been treated. According to the new Regulation, all of the water used, whether it is returned to the system or not, will be charged as if it were bottled. The government's chosen rate-setting method scoffs at the responsible use of water within a company and, at the same time, pays no attention to the return of water meeting all the prevailing quality standards to the ecosystem.
On top of that, the industry's multiple-use bottles, which are recovered, washed and re-used on average more than ten times, provide outstanding environmental performance compared with other beverage containers. In deciding to proceed with a rate-setting method that ignores the actual use made of water, the government is denigrating a container that is considered by environmental experts as one of the most ecologically friendly on the market. Setting rates according to actual usage would have been an easily achievable and fairer alternative, which would have recognized the value of water, a resource that is dear to Quebeckers' hearts.
About the Quebec Brewers Association
Founded in 1943, the Quebec Brewers Association (QBA) represents its members, the Labatt and Molson Coors breweries, on various issues affecting the brewing industry, making it the leading authority on the subject in Quebec.
The beer industry generates nearly 5,000 direct jobs in Quebec and is recognized as a major corporate citizen in the province's sports and cultural events. The QBA and its members are concerned about responsible consumption, the environment and recycling.
About the Association des microbrasseries du Québec
The Association des microbrasseries du Québec was founded in 1990. It represents thirty small breweries located in all parts of Quebec, which produce over 90% of the province's microbrewery beers, and whose market share reached 6.5% in 2009. With that market share, the microbreweries create approximately 16% of the industry's jobs, contributing to wealth development in their regions in the agri-food and tourism sectors. The AMBQ's members are highly committed towards the protection of the environment.
For further information: For further information:
Philippe Batani, QBA, (514) 284-9199
Jean-Pierre Tremblay, AMBQ, (514) 543-9501
Martin Geoffroy, (514) 298-0120