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Anheuser-Busch Improves Recycling, CO2, Energy Use

Anheuser-Busch InBev increased its relative recycling rate by 24 percent in 2010, while improving energy use, CO2 emissions and water consumption, according to the company’s 2010 Global Citizenship Report.

From 2009 to 2010 AB InBev’s recycling relative to production rose by 24 percent, from 14.1 to 17.5 kg per hectoliter (kg/hl). Last year the company recycled 98.3 percent of waste and byproducts, up from 98.0 percent in 2009.

Recycling of byproducts and organics accounted for most of the growth, and made up 89.2 percent of AB InBev’s waste and byproducts in 2010. Packaging made up 5.1 percent, waste disposed 1.7 percent, hazardous waste 0.04 percent, and other recycled waste – including non-ferrous and ferrous scrap, tires, wood and construction waste – made up the remaining 3.9 percent.

The company says it is on target to reach a goal of recycling 99 percent of waste and byproducts by the end of 2012.

AB InBev reduced its energy use per hectoliter of production by 3.7 percent in 2010, from 133.6 to 128.7 MJ/hl, and more than 14 percent from the 2007 level of 150.7 MJ/hl.

The company said it has made improvements through its Voyager Plant Optimization (VPO) global management system. By the end of 2010 more than 150 breweries, plus raw material and packaging operations, had been certified to VPO efficiency and uniformity standards, a 50 percent increase over 2009.

In 2010, the company’s Chinese breweries reduced energy consumption per hectoliter by 13 percent. These plants have focused in the past few years on making conservation and maintenance investments through the VPO system, including benchmarking with AB InBev’s breweries around the world, the report said.

These global management efforts will continue with regular VPO self-assessments and audits, and AB InBev plans to bring its remaining facilities into the program this year.

The beverage giant also cut CO2 emissions per hectoliter of production by three percent last year, from 11.47 to 11.12 kg CO2e per hectoliter (kg/hl). This measure covers direct and indirect, scope one and scope two emissions, and includes company-owned transportation where possible. In 2010, AB InBev emitted 4.25 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

Its 2012 goal is 10.32 kg/hl, a further reduction of seven percent.

The company built or upgraded 12 biotreatment systems in 2010, enabling the use of waste water to produce methane for energy. The company plans to construct or upgrade another 20 facilities by the end of 2012. Globally, renewable energy accounted for about seven percent of the company’s fuel use in 2010.

The report confirmed that AB InBev cut its water usage per volume of beer production by six percent between 2009 and 2010, to 4.04 hl/hl, as reported last month. Water use has fallen by 19.7 percent since 2007, a savings that the company equates to more than 16,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The company aims to reduce water use for beer and soft drinks facilities to 3.5 hl/hl by 2012.

ABInBev was the highest rated brewer in 2010 environmental rankings by the Carbon Disclosure Project. The company consults the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, and the citizenship report is rated as self-reported level “B”.

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