Our progress and performance are overseen by the corporate accountability and risk assurance committee (CARAC) of the SABMiller board
At SABMiller, our purpose is to bring refreshment and sociability, improve livelihoods and help build local communities.
We have a proud beer heritage that began over 120 years ago in South Africa. Since then, our brewmasters around the world have made beers people love by understanding local tastes. We also aim to play a positive role in the communities where we operate. This means supporting jobs and stimulating growth, promoting responsible alcohol consumption, and being good stewards of water and other natural resources. When communities prosper, our business prospers too.
On 11 November 2015, the boards of AB InBev and SABMiller announced that they had reached agreement on the terms of a recommended acquisition of SABMiller by AB InBev. Both AB InBev and SABMiller strive to have a positive impact on the communities in which we work and live. They know that long-term business growth and success depends on the prosperity and resilience of theses communities. They have each set global priorities on sustainable development, but take a local approach to understanding how these issues affect local communities. They have developed strong partnerships to tackle these challenges in a way that benefits communities and the environment, and grows business value.
A changing external landscape
This year saw two ground-breaking global agreements, which will shape the development agenda for years to come: the United Nations launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and world leaders committed to tackle climate change at COP21 in Paris.
Expectations of business are high, and we welcome the challenge for companies to step up and collaborate in addressing global challenges. Many of the SDGs align with our sustainable development strategy, Prosper, and present opportunities to strengthen our business as well as to contribute to society. Throughout this report you will see how the way we do business contributes towards the SDGs.
Sustainable development at the heart of business strategy and brands
Putting Prosper – our sustainable development ambition – at the heart of our business enables us to drive growth and commercial results, while making a sustained and measurable difference to the communities and ecosystems in which we operate.
As we travel around the business, we are proud to see how Prosper is being integrated into how we do business, from our sales teams engaging with small retailers, to our breweries reducing their environmental footprint, to brands – several of which are featured in this report – putting sustainable development at the heart of their purpose and growth strategy.
Partnering with small businesses in agriculture, retail and beyond
Small businesses are critical to our whole value chain – from sourcing ingredients to selling beer. They are also the lifeblood of local economies and communities, stimulating growth and supporting livelihoods. Their future is our future: we will grow profitably if we help farmers, suppliers and the many small retailers selling our beer to build successful, growing businesses.
In Latin America, where small retailers account for 40% of our sales, our 4e Path to Progress retailer development programme is one of the ways we help to improve their businesses and livelihoods. This year our African business launched a similar, region-wide programme.
Growth in our African business has long been fuelled by our Go Farming strategy, for example, the development of Eagle Lager in Uganda transformed Nile Breweries. This locally-sourced sorghum beer supports more than 20,000 smallholder farmers, and has inspired similar initiatives right across the continent.
Promoting moderate and responsible consumption
We are committed to addressing the harmful effects of irresponsible drinking and encouraging moderation through our commercial activities, and through other campaigns and partnerships. We also support and encourage the enforcement of reasonable regulation that targets irresponsible and harmful drinking. This approach is supported by our policies on employee behaviour, product innovation, and marketing practices, which we believe are among the most comprehensive in the industry.
Beer, water and climate change
Reduced water availability is probably the most significant implication of climate change for our business. To understand this better, we have completed systematic and comprehensive water risk assessments at our breweries, and put in place action plans to tackle water risk. We share these plans with local stakeholders, including communities, and we are also extending this approach into our agricultural supply chains.
Continued focus on safety
Everyone should be able to return home from work safely and we deeply regret that 27 employees and contractors were killed this year, of whom 10 were killed in road traffic accidents. Our road safety campaigns across Africa and Latin America are making a difference, but we are committed to continuing to build on this effort, and health and safety remains a priority.
We are proud of what has been achieved through Prosper and how it is embedded across SABMiller. However, there is much more to do and this report also outlines several challenges for which we do not yet have the solution. These include pursuing innovative approaches to understanding and tackling harmful consumption of alcohol, empowering women in our value chain in a way that also helps change women’s perceptions of beer, and increasing packaging reuse and recycling. These challenges can’t be solved alone, which is why we need to work in partnerships to find and to implement solutions.
The foundations of Prosper have been well laid. As the world begins to turn the SDGs from aspiration into reality, we are confident that SABMiller’s businesses will continue to play their part, and will reap continued success from their ongoing commitment to the prosperity of local communities.