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Early renewable energy achievement on tap for AB InBev

North American Supply Chain Summit tackles sustainability in the supply chain

AB InBev is on track to reach its 2025 goal of 100% renewable energy in 2021, according to Angie Slaughter, vice president of sustainability logistics and capabilities procurement at Anheuser-Busch InBev. 

Slaughter joined FreightWaves Executive Publisher Kevin Hill in a fireside chat Tuesday during the North American Supply Chain Summit to talk about sustainability throughout the supply chain. 

Slaughter said AB InBev has a wind farm in Oklahoma that produces 152 megawatts of power, representing about half of the needs for U.S. operations. Midyear 2021, a solar farm in Texas is scheduled to go online and provide 222 megawatts of power, according to Slaughter, who said these two sites are expected to offset 100% of the conventional electricity the company uses in the U.S.

“Essentially all of our brands here in the U.S. will be made with renewable electricity” in 2021, she said.

AB InBev has four major pillars in its 2025 sustainability goals: water, energy, agriculture and packaging. Slaughter said AB InBev’s “seed-to-sip” approach to sustainability covers the entire value chain from grain to consumption.

Sustainability is a “holistic view of environmental, social and economic aspects of our supply chain,” Slaughter said. “The challenge comes with getting everyone focused and committed with goals so that you can actually measure progress.”

Slaughter said that transportation makes up about 9% of the company’s carbon footprint. AB InBev’s goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% across the supply chain by 2025. To reach that goal, Slaughter said, AB InBev is operating 25 electric vehicles in California. The company is excited to partner with Tesla and Nikola in pilot programs for the long haul over the next few years as electric vehicle use expands and new solutions come into play, she said. 

AB InBev wants to use the “zero-emission transportation of the future,” Slaughter stated.

Slaughter worked in conservation before joining Anheuser-Busch more than 20 years ago. She said that conservation is a big part of sustainability. AB InBev’s 12 U.S. breweries have reduced energy use by 16% and water use by 30% over 10 years, she said, pointing out that AB InBev is committed to measurably improving the quantity and quality of water in its high-risk watersheds by 2025. 

AB-InBev is striving to reach its 2025 goal of 100% of packaging being returnable or made of at least 50% recycled content. Slaughter said the company’s aluminum is currently made of about 70% recycled content. She noted that AB-InBev faces challenges when it comes to getting customers to return their glass through the recycling system so that the company can use it again. 

Each year, AB InBev purchases about 30 million bushels of barley, 17 million bushels of rice and 3.5 million pounds of hops. Slaughter said AB InBev is committed to making its 1,000 growers highly skilled, connected and financially empowered by 2025. The Smart Barley networking platform is a benchmarking tool that connects growers globally and helps them improve productivity and profitability while decreasing the use of resources such as water and fertilizer.

AB InBev launched its Eclipse platform dedicated to promoting and sharing measurable goals among suppliers and partners in 2020. Slaughter said that sustainability is “where we as a company have the most impact and have [the] size and scale to drive real meaningful change.” 

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Alyssa Sporrer.

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Alyssa Sporrer

Alyssa is a staff writer at FreightWaves, covering sustainability news in the freight and supply chain industry, from low-carbon fuels to social sustainability, emissions & more. She graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in Marketing and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about all things environmental and enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and soccer.