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Latin America

  • Significant businesses with production operations
  • Selling operations and major export markets
  • Associates

Making better use of water in Honduras

Our Honduran business, Cervercería Hondureña, has reduced its water usage for carbonated soft drinks and clear beer by 54% and 35% respectively since 1998.

This has been done by encouraging good practice amongst employees, making use of wastewater for functions such as cleaning floors and by better use of water in bottle conveyors, washers and rinsers. The next step will be to increase the water we collect for reuse and use it for applications such as washing crates, conveyors and trucks.

Biogas recovered from the company’s wastewater supplies nearly 15% of the energy used by the brewery’s boiler. A local nursery takes sludge from the wastewater treatment plant for use as fertiliser and treated wastewater for irrigation. Other treated wastewater has been used by the business to create ‘La Vereda Tropical’ (The Tropical Walk), a recreational area for the local community.

Lightweighting in Honduras

Bottle of Barena beer

Our lightweighting work in Honduras has, on average, achieved a 12.1% reduction in primary packaging weight over a 10-year period.

During that time, Cervercería Hondureña has reduced the glass in its returnable soft drink and lager bottles by 21% and 18% respectively. In 2007, it reduced its usage of PET plastic by 13% to 1 kg of PET plastic per 0.49 hectolitres of beer produced.

It has also increased the amount of recycled material used in its packaging. For example, 30% of the plastic crates used to distribute its products are now made of 100% recycled material.

Local purchasing in Ecuador

Field of crops

Ecuador is seeing significant changes to its agricultural patterns as a result of intensive exports, production deficits in neighbouring countries and a demand for crops such as maize for biofuel. As a consequence, the availability of rice – one of the main ingredients in the beer produced by Cervecería Nacional – has fallen.

Working with the Ecuadorean government, the business has established a smallholder programme that provides the company with a stable source of rice for its beer while offering farmers the security of a ready market and a predetermined price. Over 30 farmers have joined the scheme and 1,700 labourers have directly benefited from employment. The aim is to increase the numbers involved sixfold and provide a level of income in excess of the minimum agricultural wage set by the government.

Destapa Futuro in Colombia

People taking part in craft activity

Our programme of enterprise development, which started in South Africa and has since been adopted by many of our businesses, has been launched in Colombia by our Bavaria operation under the title, ‘Destapa Futuro’ (Uncover the Future).

During 2007/08, Destapa Futuro has benefited 120 emerging entrepreneurs with an average investment of US$60,000.

The business is committed to a multi-year programme which aims to have a positive, cumulative effect on poverty. So far over 400 jobs have been created and 600 entrepreneurs have been trained in the preparation of business plans. The beneficiaries include Adriana Chavarro and Margarita Reyes from Bogotá, who founded the lingerie manufacturing company Coloretta, after receiving financial support and training from Destapa Futuro.

Supporting the community in El Salvador

Schoolchildren using computers

La Constancia supports the Coca-Cola Company’s ‘Water for my School’ programme as part of its commitment to water stewardship. It has funded three rainwater harvesting systems in schools in El Salvador, bringing year-round running water to 1,400 under-privileged children.

Running in parallel with this project has been the creation of a computer centre in the community of San Francisco de Asis adjacent to La Constancia’s brewery. This has provided over 1,000 families with access to IT facilities that would otherwise have been beyond their reach. Able to take 360 students a year, the centre gives 176 hours of classes a month with the teacher paid by the company. Four former students are now working in private companies, utilising the skills that they learned in the computer centre.

Backus joins disaster relief

Following the August 2007 earthquake centred on the city of Ica, the Peruvian business Backus was among many organisations providing vital aid to those left homeless and injured.

It made its transport fleet available to the country’s Ministry of Health to help distribute water and medicines while members of the company’s medical team travelled to the affected areas to assist the survivors along with local distributors and their families. Backus also donated time through ‘Backus Voluntariado’, a group of company workers who organised a collection to acquire and distribute the necessary medicines.

Employees in Latin America donated nearly US$110,000 to ‘¡Vamos Peru! A levantarnos Unidos’ – a relief fund established by Backus. Helped by matched funding from SABMiller Latin America, further contributions from suppliers and a sponsored football match, the business raised over US$465,000. This is being used to support a housing project and fund a medical centre in the affected area.

Progressive labour and workplace programmes in Peru

The Peruvian business Backus seeks to develop good relations with its employees, suppliers and other stakeholders by respecting human rights, avoiding corruption and protecting the environment.

This commitment is demonstrated through its engagement with the UN Global Compact, which in turn informs the 12 principles of the company’s human rights policy, including: fair and equal treatment; opposition to discrimination, corruption and compulsory or child labour; fair remuneration; a safe and healthy environment and union freedom.

The company’s corporative ethics programme ensures it acts in an honest, decent and transparent manner and is supported by a whistleblowing line. Backus also maintains close and constructive relationships with the seven unions that represent its employees.

In 2007 the business received the Human Resources Award from The Human Resources Institute of Universidad Ricardo Palma in recognition of its human resources management.

Our priorities: Human rights

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People using a SABMiller community centre

Working to eradicate child labour in El Salvador

Child labour is a risk in El Salvador’s sugarcane plantations where the hazardous, laborious nature of the work makes it even more important to eradicate child labour from the supply chain.

Industrias La Constancia, in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, has been supporting a multi-stakeholder effort led by the El Salvador Sugar Association and the local government, to ensure that these children receive schooling and appropriate, less hazardous work opportunities in line with internationally agreed standards.

Work has included building awareness of the issue, monitoring the cane plantations and supporting education and alternative production projects. These are particularly important as they create viable alternatives for generating family income without relying on children’s wages. Nearly 6,000 children have so far been withdrawn from work as a result.

Our priorities: Human rights

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People using a SABMiller community centre

A new approach to ethics in Colombia

A man speaking at the ethics conference

During 2007, Bavaria and the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce hosted the first ethics conference for business leaders in Colombia.

The conference brought together public and private companies as well as local and international experts, including Michael Hoffman, executive director of the Business Ethics Centre at Bentley College in the USA.

The topic is of great relevance to Colombia – while companies are aware of corporate ethics, co-operation and the sharing of best practice are limited.

At the end of the conference, participants agreed to work together to develop a new code of corporate ethics and to place such standards at the heart of their businesses.

Bavaria has since invited 50 stakeholders to work with Transparency Colombia, the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce and the Colombian think-tank, Fundación Ideas Para La Paz, to further the debate on corruption, management best practice, the challenges of operating in zones of conflict and freedom of association and human rights.

Our priorities: Transparency & ethics

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Man giving a presentation

World-class work policies in Honduras

Cervecería Hondureña’s approach to human resources has made it an employer of choice in Honduras and throughout Central America. Its policies aim to embed a culture of responsibility, growth and excellence which manifests itself in a number of ways.

The training programme emphasises development and individual achievement and, at a cost of US$1 million, provided over five days’ training to all 3,000 employees in the last fiscal year.

Quarterly and annual awards encourage exceptional performance while long-term service is also recognised. Individual and group goals help employees and their managers to gauge their progress and develop appropriate skills. Working hours are monitored to ensure work-life balance and complaints are addressed promptly.

Cervecería Hondureña has received both international and local awards for the quality of its product and the workplace environment it provides.