International brewing company SABMiller released its 2016 Sustainable Development Report this week, detailing cuts to environmental impacts and updates to its ‘Prosper’ sustainability ambition to align more closely with the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The strategy covers the “five shared imperatives” of creating a thriving, clean, sociable, productive and resilient world.
“Prosper was launched in 2014, after well over a year in development. At the same time that we were working on Prosper, leaders of countries, businesses and civil society organisations were developing the framework of the SDGs. In fact, we were involved in the process ourselves,” SABMiller’s Director of Sustainable Development Anna Swaithes wrote in a blog post.
“So we knew that to meet the expectations of our stakeholders, Prosper would need to be clearly relatable to the SDGs. We also understood that the SDGs provide a great framework for assessing risks and opportunities.”
Around 97 percent of the spent grain from SABMiller’s breweries is reused, mainly in the form of animal feed or as a renewable fuel. 89 percent of brewery waste was recycled over the company’s last fiscal year, and 40 of its breweries now have generators which run on biogas captured from waste water treatment plants. During the year, all of MillerCoors’ major breweries became landfill-free.
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In accordance with Goal 6 to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030, SABMiller revamped its water efficiency targets. In the past year, it achieved its original goal to reduce brewery water use by 25 percent and achieved an average efficiency ratio of 3.2 hectolitres of water per hectolitre of lager product (hl/hl), exceeding its 3.3 hl/hl goal ratio. At 25 of its breweries, average annual water efficiency is already below 3.0 hl/hl; the new target aims to make this ratio the average across all of SABMiller’s breweries.
“What excites me about the SDGs is that, for the first time, the world has an agreed set of development goals which apply to every single country and to every single sector. If we can all find a way to coordinate effectively, the delivery of the SDGs will improve the life of every person on the planet, and also make institutions in the public sector, the private sector and civil society more successful in achieving both individual and shared objectives,” Swaithes wrote.
“We made a very conscious choice to align Prosper to the SDGs and to our commercial objectives, and we have now chosen to report externally on our progress in the same way, using the SDGs. It is a common framework that everyone has signed up to and that everyone understands. Over time, it should bring a universal approach to assessing development impact.”