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Latin America

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

Working in partnership to protect a river basin

Water basin

Our Colombian business, Bavaria, is working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Bogotá Water Company to protect the basin that provides water to Bogotá. The basin is being seriously deforested, particularly by cattle breeders wanting to create grazing land to produce milk. Deforestation affects the local ecosystems and, while it doesn't reduce the capacity of the basin to produce water, it means that more sediment is washed into the supply. This in turn means higher costs for the water company and ultimately its customers.

Bavaria has invested US$145,000 in the project. This money will be used to develop partnerships with the cattle breeders to improve their production methods and reduce sedimentation in the river.

'Super Returnables' campaign

Super Returnables poster

During 2008 our Colombian business, Bavaria, launched its ‘Super Returnables’ campaign with the tag line “The power to defend your pocket, increase sales and protect the planet”.

In replacing its returnable bottles, Bavaria has invested US$145 million to implement the most modern technology. First trialled in the relaunch of the Club Colombia brand in November 2006, super-returnables are lighter than the original returnable bottles. They are more robust: a new shape with flat panels reduces wear in transportation and they have a film to protect the surface of the glass. This means the bottles can be used twice as often – around 40 cycles instead of 20 – which reduces energy consumption.

Super-returnables were introduced alongside new plastic crates that are made out of 73% recycled material. The crates have enabled distributors, shopkeepers and sellers to introduce a new bottle deposit scheme.

Plastics recycling programme

A truck with plastics for recycling

Since 2003 our Salvadorian business, Industrias La Constancia (ILC), has been part of the National Recovery and Recycling of Plastics Programme. Working with the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance, the aim of the programme is to retrieve and recycle post-consumer plastic packaging waste.

In 2008, ILC provided 45% of the total amount of material recycled in the initiative, which collectively retrieved a total of 2,178.30 tonnes of post-consumer plastics over the year. This amount has prevented the emission of 1,485 tonnes of CO2, saved 10,890 barrels of oil and prevented 990 tonnes of landfill waste.

To further reduce the impact of its packaging waste, La Constancia has implemented a post-industrial recycling programme, initially implemented at the brewery. The success of the programme has led to its introduction in the soft drinks plant.

Award-winning environmental management

The Central American Environment and Development Committee (CCAD) has awarded our Salvadoran company, Industrias La Constancia, the Regional Cleaner Production Award. The business also received an honourable mention in the water category. The CCAD commended the company for its 67% increase in the recycling of post-production factory materials in the last year, its 58% reduction in the amount of solid waste sent to landfill and its 62% cut in water use in the last eight years.

The award recognises the company's efforts to keep improving its production processes to protect the environment. It highlights its achievements in creating waste reduction and recycling programmes and installing a recycling centre in the brewing plant.

'Improving Together' supplier programme

Cerveceria Nacional logo

‘Mejorando Juntos’ (‘Improving Together’) is a programme to foster and develop micro and small businesses supplying our Panamanian business, Cerveceria Nacional (CN). As well as helping suppliers to become more competitive, it also contributes to the development and sustainability of the community.

The first step is an awareness-raising session based on our Responsible Sourcing Principles. Subsequent training covers topics such as quality and environmental management, looking at improvement opportunities in each case and any support the company may need.

Once the training is complete, companies become accredited CN suppliers and continue to receive help as necessary. The programme has so far involved 35 of CN’s small and medium-sized suppliers and is designed to be replicated in other locations in the future.

CN’s main partner in the project, The National Centre for Competitiveness, was recently invited by the United Nations Global Compact Network to join a nationwide project to use the company’s model as a best practice example of business-supplier relationships.

Smallholder development

Woman working in maize field

In Peru we are encouraging smallholder development by moving part of our hard yellow maize procurement from imports to local crops grown by smallholder farmers. Our Peruvian business, Backus, has partnered with CEDEPAS (The Ecumenical Centre of Promotion and Social Action) in the project and during the last year it has worked with 96 farmers providing technical assistance. We purchased 1,583 tonnes of maize between December 2008 and March 2009 from 80 of these farmers who met our brewing standards. The smallholders increased their productivity from an average of 7.5 tonnes per hectare to 8.7 tonnes per hectare as part of the project.

CEDEPAS also assists the farmers to set up cooperative associations to improve their buying and selling power. Two associations are now running and selling directly to Backus.

This initiative is part of the ‘Progresando Juntos’ programme that aims to improve conditions and create opportunities for micro and small enterprises. The goal for the next year is to increase our purchase of maize to around 6,000 tonnes and to provide assistance to approximately 130 smallholders.

Nurturing small distribution businesses

Our Salvadoran business, La Constancia, is improving its distribution and supporting local communities and businesses through its ’minibodagas’ and owner-driver schemes.

Minibodagas are manual distributors delivering La Constancia’s products in high-density areas where truck delivery is difficult. Each has a ‘territory’ of about one square kilometre with around 35 customers. The country has 24 minibodagas in total, each hiring an average of four people. La Constancia provides finance and logistics to help set up the minibodagas and each must formally employ all its workers.

In addition, La Constancia’s owner-driver scheme helps some of the company’s drivers to become entrepreneurs in their own right. Owner-drivers receive assistance from the brewery to set up their business and purchase a truck.This belongs to the company for the first two years after which there is a transition of ownership transferred to the driver. Drivers employ their own crew – normally two or three people per truck – to help with distribution.

Opportunities for smallholder farmers

Since 2007, Cerveceria Nacional (CN) in Ecuador has been running a programme that seeks to support small and medium-sized producers of rice while standardising the price and improving the quality and availability of supply. The results have been positive with production and quality increasing, creating jobs and impoving the incomes of the farmers involved.

The scheme has now been expanded to include sorghum and barley. The sorghum project, still at pilot stage and involving pioneering research, is looking at the best way to grow the crop in Ecuador while bringing maximum benefit to the local community. CN is also establishing a pilot scheme to identify which regions and altitudes are best suited to producing brewery barley. As well as providing raw material for the brewing process, the project will support small-scale farmers and help alleviate poverty.

Nurturing small bakery businesses

A man working at a bakery

The neighbouring communities of our Salvadorian business, Industrias La Constancia (ILC), are disadvantaged with over 40% of the inhabitants living in ‘champas’ (houses made of plastic, boxes and tin). Over 25% of local people are unemployed and education levels are low. In response ILC has developed an entrepreneurship programme and has installed a baking centre for people living near its brewery.

The aim of the centre is to help participants to increase their income by starting their own small bakery businesses. The scheme offers six weeks of training on business-related topics, run by the NGO FUNDES, which has entrepreneurship expertise. During the training, participants learn about cost control, budgets, marketing, market research and other topics that will help them make their small business more successful. FUNDES uses an innovative training approach that helps participants to overcome their fear of failure owing to lack of education.

Training craftsmen entrepreneurs

A man making clay figures

‘Progresando Juntos’ is a development programme aimed at small and medium-sized businesses in the areas of Peru in which Backus, our Peruvian business, operates.

Within the scheme, the ‘Huaca de la Luna’ project seeks specifically to encourage tourism and economic activity in the northern part of the country. Named after archaeological monuments in northern Peru, it helps local craftsmen to become more productive, looking at quality of service in the craft trade and the organisation of micro-scale, craft-related businesses.

During the 2009 financial year, more than 100 craftsmen took part in workshops emphasising the importance of quality for both the products and services they provide, as well as providing them with tools to best manage their business. With 110 hours of lectures and 60 hours of individual technical assistance, the workshops offered training in entrepreneurial management, costs, marketing and business plans.

Strategic corporate social investment

‘DestapaRSE’ is Cerveceria Nacional’s corporate social investment (CSI) umbrella programme. It covers five areas – CSI projects, enterprise development, small CSI initiatives and philanthropic activities, community projects and emergencies and disaster relief. Its creation was the result of a cultural shift away from philanthropy towards strategic CSI.

Aligned with the sustainable development priorities of the SABMiller group, the new programme includes a CSI committee comprising a member from each department and two external members to ensure that projects are selected and funds allocated in a fully transparent way. As part of its more strategic approach, the company now collects stakeholder responses and takes the lead in the conception and implementation of new projects.

Apart from selecting projects to be implemented, Cerveceria Nacional’s main CSI contribution is to build local capabilities in the implementation, management and promotion of sustainable social investment projects.

Raising awareness of HIV/Aids

Employee testing

‘Makanudo’ is a wellness programme for all employees in Honduras. Recent activities have included an awareness-raising campaign highlighting the causes and prevention of HIV/Aids.

The programme has included regular employee workshops with educational materials provided to attendees. NGOs such as Hogar Renacer, a local charity which works with people at risk from HIV/Aids, and other associations working and caring for people affected by HIV/Aids, have participated in these workshops. The Honduran Ministry of Health is also a key partner in the awareness-raising campaign, providing guidance and assistance for the workshops.

We provide and promote voluntary testing for all employees and, if results return positive, those concerned receive assistance and confidential treatment. This includes counselling, treatment with IHSS, the Honduran social security institution, and options for economic assistance.

Working in partnership to remove underage labour

Man harvesting sugar canes

In El Salvador, and other parts of Latin America, there is a tradition of youths working alongside their families in the sugar cane harvest. The ILO has stated that sugar cane harvesting is hazardous and is not suitable for people under 18 years old. Typically many of the underage cane cutters are boys aged 14 to 17 years old. Our Salvadorian operation, Industrias La Constancia (ILC), whose business includes soft drinks, has been working in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company to remove underage labour in the supply chain.

This multi-stakeholder effort includes our supply chain partner, the sugar mills foundation FUNDAZUCAR. The cane growers and sugar mills have agreed procedures to remove underage labour from their activities. The strategy also incorporated the education of all participants in the industry, especially sugar cane growers and rural families, together with the provision of schooling and recreational opportunities in the rural communities.

This partnership has successfully reduced underage labour by around 70% since 2004. However, despite good progress from all parties working hard to address this issue, the challenge remains as it is culturally embedded in the supply chain.

Our priorities: Human rights

See how we conduct our business

People using a SABMiller community centre

NGO-enterprise project fair

Three women at the NGO-enterprise project fair

Facilitated by our Panamanian business, Cerveceria Nacional (CN), the first NGO-enterprise project fair, ‘Destapa tu Responsabilidad’, took place in October 2008. The event brought together NGOs and the private sector to generate support for the development of social investment projects. More than 40 NGOs took advantage of the opportunity to promote their projects to leading businesses in Panama.

As a result, some proposals that had previously been presented to CN but had not qualified for support were able to find backers. The event also promoted engagement with government and international agencies, furthering CN’s vision of being a leader in sustainable development in Panama and emphasising its shift from philanthropy to strategic social investment.

Our priorities: Transparency & ethics

See how we're being transparent in reporting progress

Man giving a presentation

Pro-bono legal assistance for employees

Backus employee receiving legal advice

In November 2008, our Peruvian business, Backus, began a project to provide free legal advice to employees and those supplying services to Backus or one of the group’s companies. Under the scheme, which is aimed at the less well-off, a Backus lawyer is available for verbal consultation for four hours every 15 days.

The programme advances Backus’ vision of being the most admired company for its management model and ensures access to justice and legal advice for all group members, providing assistance mainly to employees who particularly need the service. It covers topics such as family rights, contracts, succession, taxation, banking debts and indemnification from accidents, though it stops short of providing formal legal representation.

40 employees used the service in 2009. Offered as an additional non-cash employee benefit, the initiative is promoted through the internal electronic communications bulletin and directly to co-workers.