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SAB Signs Up to Energy Efficiency Leadership Network at COP 17 in Durban

7 December 2011

Johannesburg. 7 December 2011. The South African Breweries (SAB) has joined forces with a group of South Africa's leading companies attending COP17 to sign a voluntary pledge on energy efficiency. The Energy Efficiency Leadership Network Pledge confirms the commitment of South African business to energy efficiency and a sustainable future.
 
The pledge was discussed as part of the green economy accord and additional organisations are expected to sign it through the course of COP17. Apart from SAB, other companies involved include Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Exxaro, Shell, Siemens and Woolworths, and the pledge is also supported by Business Unity South Africa and the National Business Initiative.
 
While the COP 17 climate negotiations have reached both highs and lows this week, one message has been consistent from the myriad of side-events in Durban - while it will take many years to finalise the complex rules of a truly global climate change treaty, the need for action is now.
   
Andre Fourie, head of Sustainable Development at SAB, says a great number of actions to be taken by countries and corporations to mitigate against climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are expensive and the technologies are complicated. To outsiders, the negotiations may seem complicated but at the heart of the discussions are the questions of by how much we can cut global emissions and who will pay for that, he says.
 
"One exception to the uncertainty and complexity of the climate negotiations is the issue of energy efficiency. In most cases an investment in energy efficiency will reduce not only a company's emissions profile but will also save money in the long term. It makes sense from both an environmental and bottom line perspective. This is the rationale for the Energy Efficiency Leadership Network Pledge" says Fourie.
 
Since the signing of a similar pledge in 2008, South African companies and business associations have been involved in, and done significant work on, energy efficiency initiatives at company level.  
 
Since the country's national electricity crisis in 2008, 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 has 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 said recently that Eskom commended 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 SA," he says.
 
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.
 
Background
 
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.
 
SAB's Top 10 Sustainable Development Priorities are:
 
Making more beer using less water
Discouraging irresponsible drinking
Reducing energy and carbon footprint
Reducing the weight of packaging, reusing bottles and encouraging recycling
Working towards zero waste operations
Building supply chains that reflect the company's values and commitment
Benefiting communities
Contribution to the reduction of HIV/AIDS
Respecting human rights
Transparency in reporting the company's progress

Ends

For further information contact Robyn Chalmers, SAB Head of Media and Communications on (011) 881 8679 or 082 924 2267 email: Robyn.Chalmers@za.sabmiller.com

This is a SABMiller subsidiary news release, it was first published in its local market on 07/12/2011.

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