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Joining the global climate performance ‘A list’

Group-wide efforts to reduce carbon emissions have led to our recognition as one of the corporate world’s leaders in combating climate change

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has published its first global Climate Performance Leadership Index, featuring 187 household names from Apple Inc. to Zurich Insurance… and including SABMiller.

The new index has been dubbed the ‘A list’, reflecting the A grade awarded to those companies showing genuine leadership in mitigating climate change. It was compiled from climate performance data submitted by almost 2,000 listed companies, which was assessed independently using CDP’s respected scoring methodology.

The 187 ‘A listers’ have collectively cut their total carbon emissions by 33 million metric tons during the last reporting year, a reduction that the CDP equates to all of London’s drivers swapping their cars for bicycles for a two-and-a-half year period.

The significance of earning a place on the index comes from its primary audience: CDP is supported by 767 investors around the world who between them hold some US$92 trillion in assets. Its objective is to give these investors the tools and data they need to evolve their asset allocation to take account of the risks presented by climate change as well as the bottom-line benefits for companies that cut their emissions.

At SABMiller, we have participated in the CDP for a number of years, having ranked consistently well in the past for carbon disclosure. Now, with the focus shifting beyond disclosure to measurable performance in reducing emissions, CDP’s performance criteria are even more closely aligned with our own.

Among our key climate commitments is a pledge that by 2020 we will have halved the CO2 emissions per hectolitre of beer we brew against a 2008 baseline. Setting such a defined target is still a relatively rare step for a manufacturing company to take, but in doing so we have provided a catalyst for initiatives that have already cut on-site emissions by 29% in absolute terms between 2008 and 2014.

Much of the work to achieve our target is based on implementing energy efficiency projects and making greater use of renewable energy. For example, our 2014 Sustainable Development Report highlights a 7% year-on-year reduction in energy used per hectolitre of beer produced, with the same percentage reduction in CO2 emissions, to a new low of 10.3kg CO2e per hl.

The money we save through energy efficiency is reinvested in even more efficient technologies and processes – a virtuous circle that the CDP cites as a key attribute of climate leadership. Water and energy efficiency is hard-wired into the way we measure performance at brewery level, with clear and stretching targets – measured and benchmarked globally every month – forming part of the performance measures of employees responsible for each step in the brewing process.