Once a month, the drinks industry-funded International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, which covers alcohol-related health and policy research worldwide, reviews some of the alcohol category’s most recent Environment, Social & Governance initiatives. Here’s what’s been going on in May.

Beam Suntory launched its third annual ‘Together for Good’ global event this month, towards its target of donating 1m employee volunteer hours to communities by 2030. The company’s staff have been reforesting reclaimed mine land in Kentucky, cleaning waterways in Singapore and Chicago and supporting flood victims in Australia.

The brand owner’s parent company, Suntory Group, joined the ‘Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures’ (TNFD) forum in Japan. The aim of the project is to develop and deliver a risk management and disclosure framework for organisations to report and act on evolving nature-related risks.

In the UK, Asahi has been focusing on diversity and inclusion through its ‘Shine As You Are” action plan. The company has an aligned set of commitments across its global business, with targets such as an equal balance of women in its leadership teams by 2030.

In South Africa, Bacardi launched the latest round of its ‘Shake Your Future’ free bartender training programme for disadvantaged young adults. South Africa’s youth unemployment rate is 66.5%, so the programme provides them with vital training and job opportunities while supporting on-premise outlets that were badly affected by the COVID pandemic and are struggling to find skilled staff. Since 2018, the initiative has trained young adults in France, Spain, and Italy, with 80% of graduates securing careers in the hospitality industry: Bacardi has also launched the programme in the UK for the first time.

Back to the UK and Carlsberg‘s Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Co (CMBC) published its first ‘Sustainability Report’ this month. The report showcases projects from the JV’s first year, and its progress in achieving “zero carbon footprint, zero water waste, zero irresponsible drinking and a zero accidents culture”, as part of its commitment to the brewer’s wider ‘Together Towards ZERO’ sustainability programme.

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Anheuser-Busch InBev has invited small companies to apply for its annual ‘100+ Accelerator’ initiative. The programme, which is a collaboration with The Coca-Cola Co, Colgate-Palmolive Co and Unilever, helps start-ups find solutions to sustainability challenges by overhauling supply chains and scaling innovative solutions. One initiative from the 2021 cohort provided solar-powered streetlights to Ecuador’s Yacupamba farmer community.

Diageo partnered with Ecospirits to pilot a closed-loop packaging solution, initially in South-East Asia. The project involves Smirnoff and Captain Morgan using reusable 4.5-litre glass containers, which will be returned by on-premise outlets once empty.

In the US, Molson Coors Beverage Co commenced a major overhaul of its brewery in Golden, Colorado. When completed in 2024, the facility will be one of the world’s most efficient, saving 100m gallons of water a year, reducing beer waste by 25%, increasing CO2 capture by 30%, and reducing energy usage by 35%.

Moët Hennessy has debuted the first rosé wine from Provence to be marketed in a flat bottle made from 100% recycled ocean plastic waste. Rosé from Provence is typically bottled in thick-walled glass, which accounts for 40% of the energy consumed in production and distribution and makes sustainable distribution “impossible.”

Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers division has lined up a US$110m investment plan to upgrade sustainable distillation technologies and increase capacity at two of its Scotch whisky distilleries. The expansion will accelerate Chivas’ 2026 carbon-neutral distillation goal by installing new bio plants and Mechanical Vapour Recompression (MVR) fan technology for pot-still distillation.

In Brazil, Heineken has launched the ‘Heineken Institute’, which will work with vulnerable individuals in society who are part of their value chain and need support, including street vendors, waste collectors, and underprivileged young adults. The institute will enable Heineken to scale up and partner with NGOs, governments, and others.

Kirin is trialling label-less bottles with some major retailers in the Tokyo area. The ‘Kirin Namacha Paper Sticker Labelless’ project uses 100% recycled PET bottles, with a small product information sticker made of paper, instead of the usual full label. Kirin is promoting efforts to reduce the volume of plastic used in packaging and is trialling the new format for six-packs and cases.

Finally, in Australia, Kirin’s Four Pillars Gin brand has been certified carbon-neutral, making it the first gin distillery in the country to achieve carbon neutrality across its operations.

For further details on The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, click here.

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