Message from our Executive Chairman
Graham Mackay, Executive Chairman of SABMiller talks about the group's key focus areas in sustainable development.
In many, if not all respects, business is society, it is part of society. It is inextricably linked into society. In fact business broadly defined is the only wealth generating mechanism in society.
We have, I think, a very useful and widely admired actually, sustainability framework the Ten Priorities and the different levels that we aspire to progress those aspirations are crucial to our long term health, survival and license to trade.
The beer industry has a unique opportunity in the sense that beer is a bulky perishable product, which requires large distribution undertakings, it is locally produced in most markets because it is expensive to ship, and it uses agricultural raw materials as well as packaging raw materials.
We employ about 70,000 people directly worldwide, studies have shown that, that employment multiplier ranges from a low of about fifteen to one perhaps, to about a hundred to one. The fifteen number would apply in a more sophisticated economy like perhaps the US or Western Europe and the hundred to one, applies in places like Uganda.
Now that ratio can be sustainably enhanced by encouraging the growth of local agricultural raw materials and very often there is no reason why they shouldn't be grown locally. Now we have very active efforts underway in many countries to do exactly that, particularly in the poorer countries where the direct multiplier effect is much more important because the economies are coming from a much lower base and any help that they can get to spread local employment has a huge effect.
We are an alcohol company and alcohol is a substance which brings much pleasure to many people in the world, most people use it wisely but it is controversial in many societies and for that reason in all aspects to do with alcohol consumption we must be seen to be encouraging responsible use of alcohol and constructive use of alcohol rather than the reverse.
SABMiller happens to operate in a large number of water stressed areas of the world so our use of water and our supply chain's use of water is important.
We have reduced our water usage ratio from a very high number of perhaps fifteen to down to more like the four to one ratio now and there is further progress that can be made and we have set objectives in that regard. We have also involved ourselves in the debate about wider water usage; sponsored studies and conducted local studies ourselves into water foot printing.