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SAB reduces electricity consumption, contributing to national saving effort.

3 August 2011


Johannesburg. 3 August 2011. Since the country's national electricity crisis in 2008, the South African Breweries Limited (SAB) has reduced its annual electricity consumption throughout its breweries by a total of 17%, well above the initial targeted electricity reduction of 10%.

SAB's reduced consumption equates to just under 1%, or approximately 85-million kilowatt hours, of Eskom's total required savings of 9 Terawatt hours. Eskom has called on industry to contribute to this saving in order to maintain the stability of the country's electricity availability.

The company's electricity consumption reduction drive was implemented shortly before the South African government called on businesses to cut its electricity use. The call came after grave concerns about the country's electricity capacity were highlighted.

"We took the call by Eskom very seriously and we have worked hard to make our contribution to the national efforts to save electricity. We took a long hard look at our business to find ways to step up and lead on this issue, and we believe that our efforts have confirmed SAB as one of the country's leading responsible corporate citizens," says Clifford Raphiri, SAB Manufacturing and Technical Director.

Eskom CEO Brian Dames says: "Eskom commends SAB on the comprehensive actions taken towards making their plants as energy efficient as possible. We look forward to continuing our close co-operation with SAB, through the 49m Campaign, which seeks to unite all electricity users in a national energy savings drive."

A comprehensive and vigorous assessment of electricity usage across SAB's breweries was undertaken at the start of the programme and more than R40 million was invested in savings initiatives. A primary focus was, and continues to be, on improving operational efficiencies. Much of these efforts have been concentrated on reducing air and steam in the manufacturing process, both large consumers of electricity, noting that in three Breweries, steam is generated by High Voltage (HV) boilers.

The following are some of the improvements made across SAB's manufacturing plants:

- The installation of high efficiency lighting and switching off unnecessary lighting when not in use;

- The installation of extensive metering and creating a culture of awareness amongst employees of electricity consumption both in running non essential equipment and in running processes in an inefficient manner;

- Solar geysers installed at all production plants. All non essential geysers have been switched off;

- Reduction of water temperatures used in bottle cleaning in the bottle washer, through a rigorous controlled process to ensure this was done without compromising on quality of cleaning;

- The reduction of evaporation during the brewing process and elimination of steam leaks throughout the plant;

- The reconfiguration of electrical systems to ensure only what is necessary can be used e.g. segregation of lighting systems to allow independent switching.

Reducing its electricity consumption is a key component of SAB's Sustainable Development focus on reducing its energy and carbon footprint. 

Through this focus, SAB is committed to:

- Minimising the impact of the energy constraints on operations, customers and consumers through practical, proactive and strategic interventions;
- Meeting Eskom and government's reduction targets within the set time frames and, where possible, exceeding the minimum required savings;
- Educating and empowering employees to become passionate energy conserving champions;
- Adopting energy saving measures and reporting on savings achieved transparently and timeously;
- Ensuring that energy saving initiatives are in line with existing sustainable development objectives.

The company is now working to build onto its electricity consumption achievement and is aiming to reduce carbon emissions from onsite energy use by 50% per hectolitre of beer by 2020. This is a global SABMiller target.

SAB has begun by investing in renewable energy sources.  A biogas recovery plant was developed at SAB's Alrode Brewery in Johannesburg to reduce its traditional dependence on coal. Wastewater is treated using an Anaerobic digestion (AD) process, which generates a biogas, methane. It has successfully reduced the sites energy footprint by 7%. The second AD gas boiler installed in Newlands, not only contributes to SAB's emissions reduction initiative, but it reduces electricity demand.

For further information contact

Robyn Chalmers, SAB Head of Media and Communications on (011) 881 8679 or 082 924 2267 email:

SAB's Top 10 Sustainable Development Priorities are:

1. Making more beer using less water
2. Discouraging irresponsible drinking
3. Reducing energy and carbon footprint
4. Reducing the weight of packaging, reusing bottles and encouraging recycling
5. Working towards zero waste operations
6. Building supply chains that reflect the company's values and commitment
7. Benefiting communities
8. Contribution to the reduction of HIV/Aids
9. Respecting human rights
10.Transparency in reporting the company's progress

This is a SABMiller subsidiary news release, it was first published in its local market on 03/08/2011.

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