Our approach to sustainable development is to set out an overall framework but to give our operations the flexibility to implement programmes that best meet their local circumstances.
View the case studies below to see how we implement our 10 sustainable priorities locally.
South Africa: Innovative packaging for the World Cup
During the 2010 world cup, SAB Ltd in South Africa developed and launched a “full-aperture easy-open end” for a limited edition can of Castle Lager, featuring a lid that for the first time enabled the can to be drunk from like a glass. This significantly reduced the materials required as it was manufactured by using lightweight ‘SuperEnd’ technology. In addition, the can helped to reduce queues at bars around the event, with a quicker serving time.
The can design was awarded Can of the Year 2010 by The Canmaker magazine, which reports on innovations in the metal-packaging industry and also won the Alcoholic Beverages category at the Starpack awards (the UK's premier annual awards scheme recognising innovation in packaging design and technology).
South Africa: Developing a lighter MGD cluster pack
Working in partnership with its packaging supplier Nampak Cartons & Labels, SAB Ltd in South Africa developed a new light-weighted cluster pack for Miller Genuine Draft (MGD). This is the cardboard sleeve the surrounds multi-pack bottles of beer. It was designed to survive the rigours of distribution, whilst using a lighter gauge of cardboard reducing the weight from 380gsm to 350gsm. This equates to a reduction of 8% less cardboard – a saving of 51 tonnes of paper annually on the MGD pack alone.
This significant improvement has been achieved without affecting the quality and strength of the MGD pack, while maintaining its high quality brand-building look and feel.
Netherlands: Minimising the environmental footprint at festivals
Grolsch is a popular choice of beer at music festivals in the Netherlands. Previously, the beer was distributed at all festivals in hard plastic cups. Not only did these create large quantities of waste, but were also a hazard when left on the floor.
Working in partnership with the events management firm Loc 7000 and cup manufacturer Huhtamaki, new bioplastic cups were developed which do not need to be sent to landfill. When collected, the cups are processed and are then able to be recycled into a variety of products including new cups which are of the same quality as the originals.
India: Protecting the route for returnable bottles
For many years, SABMiller India has used returnable bottles to package its products (such as those in the photo below), but were generic bottles that were shared by between brewers. In 2011, the businesses introduced patented bottles– a move that formalises the returnable bottle market, protects the condition in which these bottles are returned and also promotes its brands.
North America: Promoting recycling
MillerCoors has a 2015 goal to reduce the overall annual weight of its retail packaging materials by 2% from a 2008 baseline. In the past year, MillerCoors has reduced the amount of retail packaging it uses by 5.9 million tonnes, primarily by using a lower gauge of cardboard for 24-pack cases or 12-ounce cans across all brands.
Another way this has been achieved has been by switching from glass to lighter aluminium packaging for some products. For example during 2010, MillerCoors released two craft beers, Blue Moon Belgian White and Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, in cans for the first time.