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Heineken Cuts Emissions 5%, Expands Supplier Evaluation Platform

Heineken published its 2011 Sustainability Report last week and announced the global implementation of a sustainability rating platform for suppliers.

Highlights of the report include a five percent reduction in CO2 emissions and four percent reduction in water consumption since 2010. In addition, the company made progress in adding renewables to its energy mix, with three solar energy projects in Spain, Portugal and Austria supported by grants from the EU. Heineken also is working towards supplying part of its energy consumption in Mexico with wind power.

In 2011, Heineken continued expanding its local sourcing projects in sub-Saharan Africa, aiming to reach 60 percent of locally sourced raw materials in Africa by 2020. The company says it now has projects covering eight countries and involving tens of thousands of farmers and their families. These include sorghum projects in Nigeria and rice projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Heineken strengthens these activities through expanded farm training, which includes the distribution of rice to the food market. To date more than 30,000 households have received project support and more than 20,000 hectares are under improved management.

EcoVadis Platform

At the end of 2005, Heineken adopted its first Supplier Code to encourage the sourcing of products and services in a responsible manner.

In 2011, the company decided to reinforce this policy through a collaborative platform allowing the evaluation and improvement of environmental and social performance of its key suppliers and selected the EcoVadis platform for this purpose.

Heineken and EcoVadis collaborated to develop specific questionnaires and scoring models covering specific malt, hops and grains categories. After a pilot program covering 150 strategic suppliers in 2011, the EcoVadis solution is now being rolled out on a global basis.

The platform allows Heineken to monitor risks within the supplier base spanning more than a 100 countries, and at the same time to identify innovative sustainability practices of suppliers. The ratings cover 21 environmental and social criteria, and measure compliance with the key elements of Heineken’s Supplier Code.

"Our buyers' discussions with suppliers have included environmental and social issues since 2005, but after recently benchmarking against other companies' standards we chose to raise the bar, increasing our expectations and updating our Supplier Code," says David Spacey, Global Procurement Director at Heineken. "Acknowledging that driving our CSR standards into and through our supply chain is both about assuring current performance as well as driving improvement, we invested time in finding a CSR performance measurement platform that could meet all our requirements."

Last week Heineken launched an innovation challenge online this week asking the public to come up with new ideas for sustainable beer packaging.

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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