Is beer drinking sustainable?



The South African Breweries (SAB) and Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) Africa have committed to several ambitious Sustainability Goals to be achieved by 2025 in the areas of Water Stewardship, Smart Agriculture, Climate Action, Circular Packaging and Entrepreneurship.

Initiatives in the focus areas are aimed at improving the lives of people living in South Africa’s local communities and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the business.

Sustainability is not new to AB Inbev as we have had successful programs for years, however it is imperative that the business focuses all sustainability initiatives under one umbrella.

The health and wellbeing of the local communities in which we operate is imperative to the future prosperity of our business as the two are inextricably linked. We have an important role in ensuring that individuals live better lives, particularly the most vulnerable in society.

“We know that as the world’s largest brewer derived from natural products, and a big contributor to the economies in the countries in which we operate, it is imperative that we embed sustainability into our business strategy,” says David Hauxwell, Vice President Sustainability and Procurement, SAB and AB InBev Africa.

2025 Sustainability Goals:

  • Smart Agriculture: 100% of our direct farmers will be skilled, connected and financially-empowered.
  • Water Stewardship:100% of our communities in high stress areas will have measurably improved water availability and quality.
  • Circular Packaging: 100% of our products will be in packaging that is returnable or made from majority recycled content.
  • Climate Action:

o   100% of our purchased electricity will be from renewable sources; and a

o   25% reduction in CO2 emissions across our value chain (science-based).[1]

  • Entrepreneurship: 10 000 jobs created in South Africa by 2022 through entrepreneurship.

The delivery of the goals will have wide-reaching impact that includes connecting thousands of farmers to technologies and skills, ensuring water access and quality in high-stress communities, partnering with our suppliers to increase recycling content, adding renewable electricity capacity to regional grids, and creating real and meaningful jobs in the local economy.


The business has launched a company-wide Sustainability Challenge across key markets in Africa to source the most innovative solutions to sustainability challenges faced by each.

 “We are at a point in time where sustainability challenges facing Africa and the rest of the world are growing and becoming more and more significant. At the same time, innovation and technology are making it possible to find fitting solutions to these challenges.

“As a global company, we want to continue to brew beer and build brands that will bring people together for the next 100+ years. In order to achieve this goal, we need assistance from Africa’s brightest minds to unearth and nurture innovative solutions to our continent’s most pressing challenges,” says Hauxwell.

The best solutions selected will have the opportunity to win the following:

  1. A trip to Africa’s very own Silicone Savannah in Nairobi Kenya to benchmark against the continent’s leading green enterprises; and or
  2. R620 000 (approx. USD$50 000) for seed capital funding to scale their enterprise; and or
  3. An opportunity to compete in the global stage at our New York based Accelerator

There are five challenges to find solution for each of the Sustainability Goals:

  1. Smart Agriculture Challenge

Do you have an innovation that builds high impact, inclusive solutions that improve grower access to sustainable agricultural resources, products, processes, or tools that can increase the quality, yield, and sustainability of farming at scale?

  1. Water Stewardship Challenge

Do you have an innovative solution to expand access to water and sanitation services among households with no access to water?

  1. Climate Action Challenge

Do you have an innovative solution that support low income communities, to adapt and transform to meet the challenges of climate change with access to renewable energy or carbon reduction opportunities?

  1. Circular Packaging Challenge

Do you have an innovative solution that uses waste streams as a resource, generating value, and redirecting them from landfills? Ensuring that we have a waste free, circular future

  1. Entrepreneurship Challenge

Do you have an innovative business solution that depends on employing a large number of people in order to solve sustainability challenges such as renewable energy, climate change, access to clean and safe water, waste management and sustainable agriculture?

Applications in the Sustainability Challenge is now open and will close on 31 May 2018. Interested entrepreneurs can get further information and submit applications at