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Old technology, new applications

Dreher employee in Hungary

The brewing process requires a significant amount of heating and cooling at different stages. Many breweries use relatively simple heat recovery processes to capture waste heat from boiling, wort cooling, and other processes but these methods are reaching a point where recovery of heat is uneconomic or impractical to reuse.

Absorption cooling is a very old technology used in refrigerators where electricity was unreliable, costly, or unavailable. They are powered by heat from the combustion of fuel. Waste heat available from a brewery process provides an opportunity to "power" an absorption cooling system.

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Exploring new sources of renewable energy

An SABMiller plant in the Czech Republic

One of the ways to reduce CO2 emissions is through replacing the current energy supply with greener alternatives. In the Czech Republic, Plzeňský Prazdroj has recently established and completed pilot work at Radegast Brewery Nosovice with a local University to evaluate the feasibility of the anaerobic digestion of waste streams from the brewery process.

From this analysis, it is now possible to compare the life cycle effectiveness of different options of generating renewable energy from waste streams.

Other pathways for producing energy from waste are the direct combustion of spent grain and other solid waste, or the production and recovery of fuel ethanol from these waste streams. The details of these pathways are also under investigation so that the business can make decisions on their most sustainable solutions.

Grolsch - optimising ventilation and lighting systems

The Grolsch brewery in the Netherlands

Apart from the brewing process itself, ventilation and lighting consume the largest amount of energy at the Grolsch brewery in The Netherlands with its 29 ventilation units and hundreds of lights.

Traditionally, most lighting and ventilation systems ran at fixed times during the day, regardless of whether the plant was in operation or not. Since January 2009, Grolsch has been optimising its control systems to link the ventilation and lighting systems to the operation times of the brewery.

As a result, the brewery has saved more than 100,000 kWh a month without significant capital investment.

Reducing our energy and carbon footprint 00:04:17

Reducing our energy and carbon footprint. Why it's a priority and the action we're taking in Hungary and the Czech Republic.


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Taking an integrated approach to packaging reduction

A man stacking boxes

Our Czech business, Plzeňský Prazdroj, recycles or reuses 92% of its packaging material returned (the Czech average is 69%), mainly through the use of returnable bottles, kegs and beer tanks. The remaining 8% consists of non-returnable bottles and cans.

Last year the business completed a lightweighting exercise to reduce the average weight of its glass bottles to 0.64g/ml.

Plzeňský Prazdroj has also taken part in a project conducted by the Ministry of the Environment to analyse the life cycle of its packaging. Packaging was tested against criteria such as global warming, ozone layer damage and acidification. Composite packaging, usually made of more than one material, had the lowest overall environmental impact, followed by returnable glass bottles. Aluminium cans had the greatest impact. The findings of this environmental impact study will be used to evaluate the current packaging mix and identify further areas for improvement.

Growing Grolsch farming initiative

A group of workers examine crops in a field

Growing Grolsch is a sustainable arable farming initiative undertaken by Mouterij Kloosterzande (Grolsch’s malthouse in The Netherlands) and directly linked to the Grolsch brewery’s sustainability programme.

This initiative takes a long-term approach by encouraging sustainable malt barley production throughout the Grolsch value chain. Regular workshops are held with suppliers to encourage them to focus on different elements of sustainability.

For example, in June 2009, Grolsch organised a sustainable agriculture-themed demonstration day for growers of brewing barley. The aim was to raise awareness of sustainable development among growers in Zeelandic Flanders. The event focused in particular on practical ways to promote soil fertility and increase the quality and value of the crop.

Encouraging local entrepreneurship

Ursus Breweries workers

Ursus Breweries constantly invests in bringing benefits and strengthening the local communities. In the last three to four years Ursus have supported the development of the Danube Delta area through different programmes such as cleaning the area, donating equipment for PET recycling and promoting the unique landscape of the region with EU and national stakeholders.

This year, as part of the launch of SABMiller's "Ten priorities. One Future." initiative, Ursus supported the cultural and gastronomic festival "D'ale Gurii Dunarii".

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Let's save springs together

A spring well

In Russia, there is a strong tradition of natural spring water consumption. However, access to this water is often limited and many can't afford it in bottled form. To address this, SABMiller Russia has initiated a project which aims to construct public springs and provide access to natural water for wider communities in the regions where production sites are located in Kaluga, Ulyanovsk and Vladivostok.

In partnership with local administrations and ministries of ecology and natural resources, popular springs will be located in each of the three regions. SABMiller Russia will then organise and finance the reconstruction works. The official opening of the springs is planned for Ulyanovsk and Kaluga in September and Vladivostok in October 2010.

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Training for disadvantaged young people

A trainee receives his certificate at a ceremony at Rome's Town Hall

Since 2006 Birra Peroni has been working in partnership with Comunità di S.Egidio, a community group based in Rome, to provide hospitality training for disabled people to help them find permanent employment. The company is one of the first in Italy to support an initiative of this kind.

Fifteen participants took part in the programme during 2009. Training took place at the Institute Gioberti, a catering college based in Rome. Three days were also spent at the Peroni brewery where participants learned about beer culture and draught techniques. Successful participants received awards at a ceremony in Rome’s Town Hall.

Come Rain or Shine volunteering programme

Three volunteers push wheelbarrows

In 2009, Kompania Piwowarska in Poland started its employee volunteer programme, Come Rain or Shine. This scheme enables employees to volunteer their time during working hours to support local community or charitable organisations.

Employees can submit applications for support which are then evaluated to ensure they meet the objectives of the programme. Projects might typically focus on education, healthcare, poverty, physical disability, health and fitness or cultural heritage.

During 2009, Kompania Piwowarska launched 17 voluntary projects. These involved 135 volunteers and helped 2,058 individuals (1,698 children and 360 adults).

Funding of Aids centre

A doctor stands in front of new medical equipment

The Ulyanovsk region in Russia has one of the country’s highest prevalence rates of HIV/Aids. To understand how they could assist with the regional AIDS centre, SABMiller Russia initially met with the Regional Ministry of Health and Region Administration.

SABMiller Russia has subsequently made financial provision for a number of projects. These have included the purchasing of medical equipment and the sponsorship of the refurbishment of the paediatric ward in the AIDS centre.

Following the installation of the equipment, waiting lists have been cut with almost twice as many patients being tested than before and the process for applying for VCT has been simplified.

Celebrating women of taste

Joanna Wasilewska, SABMiller's Bialystock brewery

Every year SABMiller runs a competition among its 2,000 trained beer tasters to identify the most talented taste buds in the business. This year three of the six finalists, including the overall winner, were women.

Joanna Wasilewska (pictured) from SABMiller’s Bialystock brewery in Poland took the top taster award for the second year running. She was joined in the final by Joanne Sundermeier from North America and Frieda Dehrmann of South Africa.

The finalists were all put through their tasting paces at the same time in their own countries and their answers were submitted electronically to an independent adjudicator that supports SABMiller in its Global Taste System and measures the quality of SABMiller’s beers around the world.

SABMiller’s top 800 beer tasters, a large number of whom are women, come from all group disciplines from marketing and human resources to brewing and packaging.

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