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SABMiller announces target to reduce emissions from beer by 50%

26 June 2009

SABMiller, one of the world's leading brewers, today announces that by 2020 it will reduce fossil fuel emissions from its beers by 50% per litre of beer produced.

The company aims to achieve this through greater energy efficiency and by utilising renewable energy sources such as brewing by-products and agricultural waste.  SABMiller anticipates that this will enable it to contain absolute emissions across its 200 beer brands at their 2008 level by 2020, despite production volume growth.

The target is announced with the launch of SABMiller's Sustainable Development report for 2009, which also details some of the steps that are already being taken around the world to achieve the emission reduction goal. These include:

  • The Czech business, Plzenský Prazdroj, has already reduced its carbon emissions by over 50%. In addition, biogas from its waste water treatment plants is now being used as an auxiliary fuel for brewing. Reducing CO2 emissions enabled the brewery to sell surplus allowances at auction in 2006 and invest the money in further environmental projects.
  • SABMiller India has invested in renewable energy sources such as agricultural waste - including rice husks. In May 2007 a boiler fired by rice husks was installed as part of the expansion of the Rochees brewery in Rajasthan. This reduces the reliance on fossil fuels and also generates additional income for local farmers.

The new target relates to the fossil fuel emissions generated from energy used within SABMiller's on-site operations. However the company is also committed to reducing carbon emissions within its value chain. For example, SABMiller's Colombian business, Bavaria, invested US$145 million to implement ‘super returnable' bottles - which have a reduced carbon impact. These are lighter, shaped to reduce wear during transportation and have a special film to protect the surface of the glass, meaning they can be used twice as often - around 40 cycles instead of 20.

Graham Mackay, SABMiller CEO said: "Climate change is an issue of growing global concern; with likely impacts on weather patterns, water availability and crop yields our business will feel direct effects. Our new strategic approach to reduce fossil fuel gas emissions per unit of product will allow us to contain our emissions by 2020, despite growth in production volume. This follows our commitment last year to reduce our water consumption by 25% per hectolitre of beer by 2015 - a target towards which we are already making progress."

SABMiller will also be making the results of its Sustainability Assessment Matrix (SAM) public for the first time. This is the tool used in all its businesses to measure performance and progress against its ten Sustainable Development priorities. The results will be contained in an interactive online tool on its website


Notes to editors

  • SABMiller's target is to reduce emissions to 68.5g per litre of beer by 2020. This is based on a 2008 baseline of 137g per litre.
  • Other case studies are available in the Sustainable Development report and on

SABMiller is one of the world's largest brewers with brewing interests and distribution agreements across six continents. The group's wide portfolio of brands includes premium international beers such as Grolsch, Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, as well as market-leading local brands such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie. SABMiller is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.

In the year ended 31 March 2009, the group reported US$3,405 million in adjusted pre-tax profit and group revenue of US$25,302 million. SABMiller is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

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