“We strive to empower communities to become stronger and more sustainable. And as a company, we’re committed to driving growth and improving lives across our entire value chain— from our growers and retailers to our consumers and their communities,” Tatyana adds, describing the attitude her employer, the biggest beer brewer in the world, shows through various activities, events and ideas. What are these and why does AB InBev practice them? We asked Tatyana as well as her colleague Cedric Plettinx from the Prague office.
Do you think that CSR is more important for a multinational company stretching all over the world rather than for a small local company?
T: Everybody shares the same amount of responsibility for giving back to the community. However, as a multinational company, you will be more in the spotlights and will have to carry more weight into the scale as we are involved in more than a single community. Due to our global footprint out initiatives can be more impactful. A good example is our recently announced commitment to secure 100% of the company’s purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025. This commitment will make AB InBev the largest corporate direct purchaser of renewable electricity in the consumer goods sector globally and will reduce the company’s operational carbon footprint by 30%. This will have the same positive effect as removing nearly 500,000 cars from the road.
C: I agree. The only difference between a multinational company and a small local company is in value at stake of your mistakes and irresponsible actions. We don’t generally see headlines with local retailers at the top.
How important is CSR to AB InBev?
T: Corporate social responsibility is a core part of the business that goes through all processes and operations all over the world. We are working to bring our Better World commitments to life through our more than 500 brands across the globe. Our products bring people together. Bringing people together means collaborating to make our shared world a safer, healthier and happier place.
You mentioned your Better World strategy, can you tell us about it?
T: Through this strategy, we envision a growing world where everyone has the opportunity to improve their livelihoods. We want a cleaner world where natural resources are shared and preserved for the future. We are committed to promoting a healthier world where every experience with beer is a positive one for lives well lived.
One of the points of the strategy is reducing the harmful use of alcohol by 10 % in 9 pilot cities in 2020. Isn’t it a bit contra-productive for a company brewing beer?
T: Absolutely not. We want to be a link to a positive experience with every beer we produce, not the harmful or abusive one. Therefore we are striving to build a smart drinking strategy. What does it mean? In order to ensure a long-term and sustainable reduction of harmful drinking, consumer behaviour needs to shift toward smart drinking. Therefore we’re are developing interventions with the health care experts and launching innovative social marketing campaigns to change local social norms to achieve that.
Apart from the Better World strategy, do the local branches have their own causes?
T: Better World strategy covers all material aspects of our operations and states the core part of our social responsibility, but by prioritizing our activities we can also better focus our efforts to country-specific issues. And here’s the thing – as a part of our business you are not limited to pursue whatever exceeds the basic activities. Your limit is your imagination and your understanding of consumer insights.
Speaking of local branches, are there any other CSR activities you perform in your Prague office?
C: In Prague we collaborate heavily with 3 NGOs – EDA (supporting families with disabled children), Helppes (supporting dogs), and Nadání a dovednosti (guiding teenage orphans to the labour market). Every two weeks a team within our branch organizes food for everybody to enjoy and the profits go to one of these selected NGOs.
It is also through the latter (Nadání a dovednosti) that we got into a closer contact with several orphanages around the Czech Republic and since this summer we have actively engaged ourselves in helping in the restoration of their buildings.
C: We chose to increase our engagement with the orphanages since we truly see the value of all people, no matter where they come from. We should not define others based on their background but more on their actual merits and this is also underlined through one of our principles: we aim to develop people who can be better than ourselves.
AB InBev is the world’s leading brewer in the world with the approximately 30% share on the global beer market. Apart from their business, costs, and profits, the company also significantly invests in their CSR activities, all gathered under the Better World strategy and commitments. For example, they intend to reduce the harmful use of alcohol by 10 % in 9 pilot cities by 2020 and will spend 1 billion dollars on social marketing worldwide by 2025. They also expect to be fully on renewable electricity by then. Are you curious for more?
Christmas time is upon us, do you organize something special for your employees to celebrate the festive season? I assume the traditions differ all across the world.
C: Of course, every branch is specific and has its own Christmas traditions; however we like to organize various monthly challenges for our employees in this time to put together teams and through their unique approach to spread the cheer all around. The Senior Management also gives out Christmas gifts to recognize and reward the performance of all employees in our Prague office.
Do you have any New Year’s resolution?
C: Next year we want to do more than the year before as we are never fully satisfied. My personal goal in this context is to engage even more people in our company to come up with new ideas that can increase our impact in the community.