Submitted by Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable
Welcome to our series aimed at spotlighting the individual leaders within BIER member companies and stakeholder organizations. The idea for this series was conceived well before the start of the current COVID-19 crisis, and we believe that in challenging times like these, stories of positive impact can provide some much-needed relief. So, we invite you to learn how these practitioners and their companies are addressing pressing challenges around water, energy, agriculture, climate change and what inspires each of them to advance environmental sustainability in the beverage sector and collectively, overall.
Which of your company’s sustainability initiatives/achievements are you most proud of?
While we continue to make progress on our sustainability efforts, AB InBev’s focus right now is on doing what we can to support communities as they fight COVID-19. Specifically, AB InBev is manufacturing more than 1 million bottles of hand sanitizer to donate to hospitals and frontline workers around the world. This is effort is echoed by many other leading companies in our sector in an effort to protect our colleagues, support our customers and consumers, and strengthen the efforts of local healthcare workers for the benefit of communities.
Outside of these current efforts, the sustainability-related initiative I'm most proud of is how AB InBev responded to the water crisis in Cape Town in 2017. The city could have potentially run out of water due to water shortages, and local communities were required to cut back on their water use. Our brewery in Cape Town had a long-standing commitment to water efficiency and had sufficient availability of water from a local spring located on land owned by the brewery; the brewery already had a long tradition of providing access points to the spring for the local community at no cost. As “Day Zero” approached, the brewery reached an agreement with the City Council to relocate the spring access point so that it could continue to provide the community with quality drinking water, but in a manner that could be managed by the municipality. The brewery also developed a plan to switch from brewing beer to bottling over 12 million bottles of water for the South African government to distribute to communities in need, if it became necessary (fortunately for the community it did not). This example has helped shape a new strategy for how AB InBev can operate our breweries and support our communities during drought emergencies.
The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable works to reduce consumption, mitigate impacts, and ensure sustainable continuity and future of the global beverage industry.