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Want Engagement with a Twist? Try a ‘Beer-Print’

Molson Coors is a big company with an army of stakeholders. In fact, there are over 15,000 employees around the globe, with core business operations in the UK and Canada, a joint venture in the US, and business interests in countless other markets. So how does a company like this approach a topic as fundamental (but often fundamentally confusing) as sustainability? As you might expect from beer folks, we did it with a twist.

Or, to be more accurate, with ‘Our Beer Print’.

Our Beer Print is a compelling gateway that engages our employees as we make our journey to sustainability. It was created in 2010 when an enterprise team of Public Affairs and cross functional thought leaders worked with our ‘What If’ innovation team to imagine a vehicle that would be uniquely Molson Coors.

Not Your Average Footprint

Corporate Responsibility can be straight forward or complicated. At Molson Coors we decided to boil it down to the fundamentals.

Our annual surveys pointed to growing engagement in CR by our employees. Their involvement in environmental stewardship, commitment to the community and belief in what the company was doing was a driver of their engagement.

We created Our Beer Print to bring it home for our employees. Prior to Our Beer Print, employees just heard a lot of philosophical theoretical statements and claims about our commitment to CR. People couldn’t put a finger on where we were focussed on making a difference.

With Our Beer Print, our employees understand that every time a beer is picked up there is a beer print left behind. Wherever we brew and sell our beer we leave a beer print in our communities, on our environment and on our business. We want to grow our positive Beer Print and shrink our negative Beer Print. It helps guide purchasing decisions, company goals, community partnerships, employee engagement and profit. It helps drive our business.

Rolling Out Our Beer Print

2011 was a year of education, enrolment and engagement of our employees with Our Beer Print.

When it rolled out, the employee impact was immediate. Our annual People Survey showed a marked increase in CR awareness and engagement by employees with an increase of 4% across the board.

Today, 90% of employees believe Molson Coors is responsible in the community, and 89% believe we are environmentally responsible.

Gathering Steam

With engagement came action.

We asked employees to commit to three areas where we as a company and they as an employee could make a difference.

We also implemented a month of action in September 2011. This action month focused on water, an enterprise wide movement to educate people about responsible drinking, and a focused pilot in Canada related to ‘Community Cheer’.

We also turned to our brands for leadership in CR. Molson Canadian in Canada led the charge with the creation and launch of the ‘Red Leaf Project’. Consistent with the brand organizing idea of ‘Made from Canada…the Best this Land has to Offer’, the Red Leaf Project kicked off with employees planting 1000 trees in Canada. In year one, 100,000 trees were planted at branded events in communities across Canada.

What can we learn from Our Beer Print?

Our Beer Print is an unconventional, but entirely appropriate way for us to approach sustainability. It works for our brands, and for our community. So we certainly can’t tell everyone to emulate Our Beer Print.

However, there are some overriding lessons and principles we’d certainly pass along to anyone interested in approaching sustainability with a twist. They are:

  1. When employees can relate to a corporate initiative, the results come to life.
  2. An organizing idea such as Our Beer Print firmly grounds employees in the mission…and enables external stakeholders to grasp what’s going on ‘inside’.
  3. We’ve moved from trying to ‘sell’ CR to employees, to employees now embracing opportunities to shrink our negative and grow our positive Beer Print.

Cheers !

Ferg Devins is Chief Public Affairs Officer for Molson Coors in Canada and has been with the company for 27 years in varied roles of communications, government relations marketing and sales. Devins’ mandate as Chief Public Affairs Officer involves a… [Read more about Ferg Devins]

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