Anheuser-Busch InBev Accountability through Metrics & VPO | Anheuser-Busch InBev

“This is another example of very impressive corporate accomplishment reflecting dedication, creativity and focus… A noteworthy accomplishment and certainly leadership material.”
--Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards judge

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), a global brewer with operations in 24 countries, has been working to reduce its environmental impact and energy usage by setting metrics to encourage behavioral change among its 150,000 employees. This initiative, part of its Better World strategy, is driven by the company’s operational management system, Voyager Plant Optimization (VPO), which standardizes AB InBev’s operations. The core of VPO is behavioral change towards greater efficiency, encouraging employees at every level to integrate these standards into daily routines and hold themselves accountable for success or failure.

AB InBev image reducedIn 2009, AB InBev set three-year global environmental goals to reduce the company’s impact in water, energy, carbon emissions and recycling. The company incorporated rigorous metrics into VPO to ensure that each employee knew what they had to do. These standards ensured that AB InBev could take a multi-faceted approach that included a mix of operational changes, technological solutions, partnerships and more. Under VPO, AB InBev’s team in China was able to achieve the company’s largest region-wide reduction in water and energy consumption between 2009 and 2012 (38% and 30% respectively) by implementing initiatives from other regions. The China team’s success – such as its method to continuously benchmark utilities usage between brewery departments by drilling down into energy and water data – has been adopted by other regions.

Through monthly reporting and ranking of performance, regular team calls, annual meetings to share and develop new ideas and a database cataloging more than 700 best practices, VPO guided AB InBev toward achieving its three-year global environmental goals by the end of 2012.

The company:

Achieved a water-use rate of 3.5 hectoliters of water per hectoliter of production, an 18.6% reduction in water usage against a 2009 baseline.

Decreased energy use per hectoliter in breweries and soft drink facilities worldwide by 12%, surpassing the three-year target of a 10% reduction.

Reduced carbon emissions by 15.7%, surpassing the three-year target of reducing emissions by 10%.

Increased recycling rate to 99.2% for solid waste and byproducts, passing the three-year target.

AB InBev’s management systems also keep employees accountable as the company continues reducing its environmental impact. By integrating sustainability into VPO and other management systems, AB InBev says it has ensured that every employee, at every level, is always improving individual performance and reducing their individual impact, ensuring that the company is doing the same, while also achieving, as one judge said, “impressive savings.”