BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER FOR BETTER SUSTAINABLE IMPACT
We are often asked what makes a great beer. A healthy natural environment and thriving communities is not what people expect to hear, but without them, AB InBev could not exist.
The reason is this: our beers are almost entirely sourced, brewed and consumed locally. Fresh water is supplied to our breweries from nearby sources and our natural ingredients, like barley and hops, are mostly grown at local farms. We also rely on millions of neighborhood pubs, restaurants and small retailers to put Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois, and more than 500 local and regional brands, in consumers’ hands every day.
As advocated in SDG 17, collaboration and cooperation has been behind everything we do - even now as a global pandemic forces many of us to be at a distance.
Our long-held purpose of ‘bringing people together for a better world’ has never been more relevant, or as necessary, to tackle the world’s most pressing sustainability issues.
Using scale and partnerships to drive meaningful change
Our ambitious 2025 Sustainability Goals focus on impacts that go beyond our operations. We target four areas – agriculture, water, packaging and climate – that are not only intrinsic to our business, but also where AB InBev can deliver the most value for our communities and the world.
But we fully recognise that we cannot accomplish our sustainability goals alone. Be it policymakers or start-ups, NGOs or suppliers, we must bring people together to make progress.
Let’s consider our goals to help achieve SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). One of our first actions was to join the RE100 global initiative, led by the Climate Group and CDP, to advance our commitment to source all our purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025. This will represent almost six terawatt-hours of electricity annually.
By shifting to renewable electricity in our operations, we’re playing a role in tackling climate change and helping the world move towards a more sustainable future. After starting from close to zero three years ago, now more than 50% of our purchased electricity is from renewable sources.
We’re also using the power and influence of our global brands to inspire and empower consumers. Budweiser is our first brand taking strides to be brewed from 100% renewable electricity by 2025. We continue to add the renewable electricity symbol on Budweiser labels around the world as we hit the brand’s renewable goal in each market – something that’s already been achieved in the United States, Canada and the UK.
Investing in disruptive technologies across our value chain
Looking beyond our own operations for solutions, we created the 100+ Accelerator to connect us with a community of tech innovators. Each year the Accelerator issues challenges to solve pressing sustainability issues, developed with the input of NGOs, external partners and our colleagues around the world.
In the two years since its launch, the 100+ Accelerator has received 1,800 submissions from start-ups spanning dozens of countries and five continents. One example from the first cohort, is our partnership with BanQu. BanQu is an SMS-based service that uses blockchain technology to record purchasing and sales data, giving our smallholder farmers a much-needed digital financial identity. Today hundreds of barley and cassava growers across Zambia, India and Uganda use BanQu to send digital payments which reduces cash transactions and lowers risk for our farmers. This partnership uniquely combines ethical behavior with transparency and is good for our entire value chain – from our farmers, to our breweries and socially conscious consumers.
In the second cohort, we paired up with Nomo Waste to help achieve SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and our goal of having 100% of our products in packaging that is returnable or made from majority recycled content.
The Colombian start-up is even pairing up with BanQu on the Return Home Project, to increase the collection, reuse and refilling of our glass bottles.
We also collaborate with our suppliers and partners using our proprietary digital platform, Eclipse. First-of-its-kind in the beverage industry, Eclipse facilitates targetsetting, standardised measurement and best practice sharing around the SDGs most critical to our shared future, including transportation, ag tech, packaging and recycling.
For example, recent supplier collaborations have led to the introduction of alternative fuel delivery trucks and eco-friendly coolers in every zone where AB InBev operates worldwide.
By investing in and partnering with innovators and our suppliers around the globe, we not only empower them to take on to the world’s sustainability challenges; we can build on their success and scale these solutions across our own business, as well.
Maintaining momentum even in uncertain times
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on everyone. Like many, AB InBev has adapted to new ways of working and tackled situations we’d never imagined, all while protecting what matters most: our 170,000 colleagues, our partners and the millions of consumers who enjoy our products every day. As a strong engine of economic activity, we will continue to play a valuable role to ensure its recovery.
While some immediate priorities may have shifted, we continue to work towards our 2025 Sustainability Goals and the SDGs, pushing ourselves to make the right decisions for people and planet. This is not an effort to be put on pause.
Rather, it cannot be stopped; because sustainability is deeply connected to our company’s purpose and our strategy lays bare how essential it is to our business. Our commitment will not waver in challenging times, like those we face now.
For more than 600 years we have crafted our beers from the world’s best, natural ingredients. A healthy natural environment and thriving communities will ensure we can continue to do so.
And if history has taught us anything about beer, it’s that it can withstand the test of time. AB InBev will do the same – with purpose and with a shared commitment to bringing people together for a better, more sustainable, world for centuries to come.