By Brian Collet—AB InBev, the world’s largest brewery, with sales in 50 countries, aims to source all its electricity from renewables by 2025.
The group, whose brands include Beck’s, Budweiser and Stella Artois, calculates that the resulting carbon emissions reduction will be the equivalent of removing 500,000 cars from US roads every year.
It expects to obtain up to 85 per cent of its electricity from direct power providers and to generate the rest from on-site installations, including solar panels.
In recent years AB InBev has economised on water use, reducing the amount needed to make a litre of beer from five litres to just over three, thus cutting the energy consumed in the industrial process and in transferring water.
Another energy saver is the company’s programme to source more of its ingredients locally.
Coincidentally, the company hopes its environmentally responsible stance will win back younger drinkers who have shown a preference for the products of micro-breweries with smaller environmental footprints.
AB InBev is at present concentrating its clean energy drive on Latin America. In Mexico it has signed an agreement with the Spanish clean energy company Iberdrola, which can supply all its sites in the country.
Mexico itself has joined the US and Canada in pledging to source at least half its power from renewables by 2025.
In Brazil AB InBev is already using biogas in several breweries. It expects 40 per cent of its energy in Brazil to come from this source by the end of the year.
An encouraging note: The International Renewable Energy Agency, the Abu Dhabi-based inter-governmental sustainability organisation, has estimated that energy-generated carbon dioxide emissions globally can be cut by 70 per cent by 2050 and phased out entirely by 2060.