This week, SABMiller released its annual Sustainable Development Report, announcing progress to reduce water use and carbon emissions and achievement of significant financial savings associated with these environmental measures.
The company saved US$17 million in the last financial year compared with 2010 through water- and energy-reduction initiatives. While growing its production volumes, SABMiller cut carbon emissions from on-site energy use by 35 percent since 2008, equivalent to nearly one million tons. Over the same period, it cut water use per liters of beer by 28 percent to 3.3 liters, exceeding its 2015 target. In the last year alone, the company reduced its water use by 29 million hectoliters.
Other notable achievements include nearly 63.8 percent of company breweries completing intensive water risk assessments, the reuse or recycling of 89.6 percent brewery waste, and 53.4 percent of product volume being sold in returnable bottles or kegs.
The report also emphasizes SABMiller’s reliance on small businesses around the world and its commitment to helping them thrive by facilitating access to skills, financial services and technology. This goal is aligned with the collaborative and inclusive nature of the company’s sustainable development strategy, titled Prosper.
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Dambisa Moyo, Chairman of the SABMiller’s Corporate Accountability and Risk Assurance Committee, and Alan Clark, Chief Executive, assert the company’s Prosper agenda is consistent with that of the international community:
“Later this year, the international community will define a new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) which, for the first time, will recognize the role of the private sector in addressing global challenges. SABMiller, alongside other progressive businesses, has sought to contribute to the drafting of the SDGs and we are committed to playing an active role in helping to achieve them,” they write in the report’s introduction.
“We welcome the focus on a broader sustainable development agenda within the new goals, particularly on the role of micro and small businesses in delivering sustained, inclusive growth and job creation."
These intentions reflect Prosper’s five “shared imperatives” to contribute to a thriving, sociable, resilient, clean and productive world.
“We believe strongly that if we are successful in putting Prosper at the heart of our business, we can secure our long-term success and make a sustainable and measurable difference to the communities and ecosystems in which we operate, said Moyo and Clark.
In addition, the 2015 report suggests SABMiller is on the way to achieving its more specific 2020 targets, including:
- Directly supporting over 500,000 small businesses
- Encouraging responsible alcohol consumption by scaling up programs to reach all SABMiller beer consumers;
- Achieving a water-efficiency target of 3.0 liters per liter of beer (which would surpass AB InBev’s 2014 achievement of 3.2 liters, reportedly making it the most water-efficient brewer in the world)
- Reducing its carbon footprint by 25 percent per liter of beer, and 50 percent across all breweries
- Measurably improving food security and resource productivity by setting targets by crop and growing region.
SABMiller representatives have been outspoken about companies recognizing and managing the financial risks of impending resource scarcity, and they seem to be walking their talk: In March, SABMiller was featured in a World Economic Forum report describing companies’ achieved advantages in increasing revenue, reducing supply chain costs and adding brand value through their sustainability practices.