Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I
Budweiser Brewing Group UK & I
Budweiser Brewing Group UK & I – Sustainability Case Study
Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland is a proud part of AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, employing around 170,000 people worldwide and over 1,400 people in the UK. We are a proud British brewer with a strong presence in the UK. In addition to our head office in London, our breweries are located in Samlesbury in Ribble Valley, established in 1972 and so will be celebrating 50 years next year and our Magor brewery in South Wales was established in 1979. Our other breweries in Camden Town and Enfield are craft brewing innovators.
In the UK we produce global and internationally recognised brands including Budweiser, Stella Artois, Bass, Boddingtons, Corona and Becks and No and Low Alcohol Beers such as Budweiser Zero, Stella Artois Alcohol Free, Becks Blue and Bud Light and Franziskaner Alkoholfrei.
At Budweiser Brewing Group UK & I, we believe that Sustainability is our business and our ambition is to be the UK’s most sustainable brewer. That’s why we take a holistic approach to sustainability. It drives our decisions from the farmers we work with to our breweries, how we package our beers through to our supply chain and operations. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we know there’s much more to be done.
That’s why our 2025 sustainability goals are our most ambitious yet.
Our global sustainability goals for 2025 are:
• 100% of our products will be in packaging that’s returnable or made from majority recycled content
• 100% of our direct farmers will be skilled, connected, and financially empowered
• 100% of our communities in high-stress areas will have measurably improved water availability and quality
• 100% of our purchased electricity will be from renewable sources and we will have a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions across our value chain
And we’ve already made substantial progress to meet these.
Our breweries in Wales and Lancashire are now brewing more than 20 million bottles and cans of Budweiser a week, using 100% renewable electricity, 100% natural ingredients and 100% British grown barley. All Budweiser brewed and sold in the UK will sport a new symbol signifying that it was made with 100% renewable electricity. This is part of the UK biggest ever unsubsidised solar power deal.
We recently announced a pilot at our Magor Brewery to power our brewing process and key vehicles with green hydrogen. This will help Magor Brewery on its journey to become carbon neutral by 2026, and it will also be the first ever brewery to be supplied by green hydrogen. This will help to pave the way to a more sustainable future for the industry.
In 2018, we launched the 100+ Accelerator global incubator programme in support of our 2025 Sustainability Goals. The programme hosts and provides funding to start-ups to solve challenges, designed to create a more sustainable world for all. Through the programme, we work with partners who can deliver breakthrough advancements in water stewardship, farmer productivity, product upcycling, responsible sourcing, green logistics and more.
In 2021 alone, we partnered with 36 start-ups to accelerate our inclusive sustainable growth and green supply chains, including two UK start-ups, ACET Technologies and Arborea. We’re looking forward to working with ACET on our sustainable packaging journey.
We take our commitment to sustainability seriously and are also members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group.
In the UK, all of our beers are brewed with 100% British-grown barley, as part of our Bud Farmers programme. We work with more than 300 farmers growing barley for us in the UK, covering more than 6,000 hectares of British farms and producing 40,000 tonnes of barley each year. This has a real impact upon our carbon footprint and makes a substantial difference to the green economy. We were particularly pleased to support Open Farm Sunday recently.
An innovative change to the way we prepare one of our brewing ingredients has made a useful contribution to the efficiency and sustainability of our breweries throughout the UK and across the world. This innovative technique is called ‘dry de-husking’ and allows us to remove part of the outer husk from malted barley grains before we begin the first stage of the brewing process, which is known as mashing and involves soaking the barley in hot water to extract its sugars. This has two major benefits: first, it means less energy is used in mashing, since less hot water is required to penetrate the husk-less grains. Second, the discarded husks can be collected and used as biofuel for the brewery’s boiler, meaning less reliance on fossil fuels.
By 2025, 100% of our purchased electricity will be from renewable sources and we will have a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions across our value chain. At our brewery in South Wales we have recovered more than 22,000 tonnes of CO2 and recycling rates have reached 99.8%.
In the last two years, we have installed a wind turbine in Magor which will generate 9 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year – the equivalent of powering 2,300 Welsh homes – while saving more than 2,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions. That’s well over 65,000 tons of carbon savings during its operational lifetime. The turbine presented significant logistical challenges, especially in the transportation of the blades. The turbine, which is one of UK’s largest onshore wind turbines, provided a logistical challenge to transport and we were keen to do this in as an environmentally friendly way as possible therefore the conventional route by road was dropped in favour of shipping the blades over 800 miles by sea and into Bristol’s Avonmouth Dock, leaving just the last 20 miles to be negotiated by road. The combination of sheer size with the latest design and engineering technology makes the Magor turbine highly efficient in harnessing the available wind, providing an output of up to 3.5 megawatts.
In 2018, we also announced an innovative patent to reduce CO2 emissions globally by 5% by brewing with less heat and water. We made this patent freely available to small brewers should they wish to reduce their CO2 emissions. In December 2021, we announced our ambition to reach Net Zero brewing by 2026, which is part of our global ambition for reach Net Zero brewing across our value chain by 2040.
Our UK breweries are committed to water efficiency and are setting themselves world class standards. We are proud to have reduced water consumption significantly across our UK and global footprint.
We believe that our responsibility extends far beyond the last sip of beer and our objective is to have 100% of products in packaging that is returnable or made from majority recycled content by 2025. In October 2020, we were pleased to announce that following a £6.3 million investment all beers brewed in the UK are plastic ring-free, and we’ve also removed significant tertiary packaging. In doing this we removed 850 tonnes of plastic, the equivalent weight of 67 double decker buses! This was achieved just a year after we announced this ambition in September 2019.
In 2021, we announced, together with RUSAL, the Metals segment of En+ Group (LSE: ENPL; MOEX: ENPG), the world’s largest producer of low carbon aluminium, CANPACK, global manufacturer of aluminium beverage cans, and ELVAL, a leading aluminium rolling expert, the launch of a pilot to produce a can with the lowest ever carbon footprint for an AB InBev beer can produced in Europe.
We are also founding members of Circularity Scotland, the Scheme Administrator for the Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland.