Brewing a better world through collaboration and innovation

September 2021

Heineken® is one of the most recognisable, iconic beverage containers in the world, and are green in more ways than one. As part of its long-standing Brew A Better World climate action plan, HEINEKEN has put planet-first operations front and centre of its future endeavours. Here, Yashica Kasiram, Sustainability Manager at HEINEKEN, explains the thinking behind HEINEKEN’s environmental strategy and shares her views on why this route is such a priority for the brand.

Any company, whether an international corporation or a small local business, has a fundamental responsibility to support the environment and the local communities it serves. Operating responsibly makes ethical sense and it’s also crucial when supplying a product that resonates with consumers in today’s market.

At HEINEKEN, we have always been passionate about making a positive difference and we know that our customers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of their own purchasing choices. They want products that genuinely help lower their own carbon footprints. They also know the brands they buy from every day can always go further in the fight against climate change, and are savvy when it comes to half-hearted efforts and greenwashing.

 

Inspiring change

Accountability and transparency within a business are key to hitting the mark with sustainability efforts. With facilities in more than 70 countries selling over 300 different beers and ciders through billions of products, we know that we have an opportunity to inspire significant, positive change when it comes to the long-term environmental footprint of our industry. This is the rationale behind Brew A Better World, our climate action plan with the goal of supporting delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, coupled with our ambition to be carbon neutral throughout our value chain by 2040.

Our Brew A Better World initiative has been driving HEINEKEN over the last 10 years. We aim to be a loud voice for change and innovation in our sector, leading by example, and ploughing forward in the development of new and exciting enterprises.

At HEINEKEN, we want to lead by example and reach net zero in our production facilities, proving to our suppliers that it is possible. We must also inspire our current and future partners to follow suit, ensuring that every link in our supply chain shares our ethos and ultimate aspirations towards carbon-neutral operations.  

 

Pushing the boundaries 

We’re certainly not stopping there though, and our plan is to reach our ambitions by focusing on the short, medium and long-term achievements we can make.

In the immediate future, we’re taking significant steps to switch the fuel that we use across our business, quickly moving away from our reliance on fossil fuels and moving towards more low-carbon and renewable alternatives. This is happening in all areas of our business, from transportation, to the electricity we generate to power our facilities, to packaging production.

In the medium to long-term, we’re focusing on inspiring a fundamental behaviour shift across our operational landscape which will lead to long-lasting positive changes. This includes Heineken making key commitments which include:

  • Closing the material loops throughout our value chain
  • Creating an appropriate global infrastructure to promote effective recycling
  • Developing more reusable packaging

 

Rethinking our operations 

As part of our plans, we’ve been identifying breakthrough businesses in various sectors which are fully aligned with our goals, lead innovation in their sphere and host the technology that allows us to achieve our mission.

Encirc is a prime example of one such business, and has been instrumental in helping us work towards the improvement of our glass products’ carbon footprint with its ground-breaking biofuel trial, which used 100% recycled materials to create ultra-low-carbon containers.

We know that glass bottles are traditionally a carbon-intensive product to produce, but there are also huge opportunities through greater use of low-carbon fuels like biofuel and green hydrogen that can ultimately result in a truly sustainable, one-way product.

Our ultimate goal is to create a strong, solid bottle which is infinitely reusable and has a very limited or neutral carbon footprint.

Our trial with Encirc and Glass Futures is a significant step forward on this journey. Through the initial trial using biofuel instead of natural gas, and up to 100% recycled cullet, we were able to cut the carbon footprint of more than 1.4 million of our bottles by up to 90%. As long as this is scalable and the fuel is available, we see a lot of potential in this area.

 

Like-minded partners

As well as developing our current partnerships, we also know how important it is to have a presence within world-building alliances who are driving momentum in the climate change agenda.

This is why we’re a member of the Business Ambition for 1.5C, the Race to Zero, the Climate Pledge, and RE100.

Brewing a Better World, with sustainability at the centre of operations, is an ethos Encirc shares with HEINEKEN. By investing in the most innovative solutions, working with the most disruptive, like-minded partners and setting firm commitments to ambitious goals, we can Brew a Better World together.

For more information on our commitments towards sustainability visit, https://www.theheinekencompany.com/sustainability-and-responsibility.


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