A press person from Anheuser-Busch called me Monday morning to help kick off my week.
It's amazing how fast the brain can go different directions. AB needs more help in domestic marketing and they want someone who is experienced with their product line; AB is offering a press tour for American ag journalists of the Stella Artois operations in Belgium; AB wants to know if I want to ride along with the Clydesdales in a holiday parade.
No, it's none of those things. Instead, she wanted to talk about sustainability. I did mention it's usually better to talk about sustainability topics with a beer or two.
That said, Anheuser-Busch, along with its parent company, InBev, has launched a somewhat novel approach to dealing with global sustainability issues. And the press call got me to notice the news release on the company's sustainability program that I had missed earlier.
The brewer has launched a program called 100+Accelerator, reaching out to startup businesses -- people with ideas, but no cash -- that focus on ten different sustainability ideals and questions. 100+Accelerator will operate as funding program of up to $100,000 in investment and an opportunity to work with AB InBev, as well as connect with NGOs and other entrepreneurs in the sustainability space. AB InBev sees the effort as a way to help the company reach its own 2025 sustainability goals.
AB InBev wants all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and reduce its emissions across the supply chain by 25%. Packaging will be returnable or made more from recycled materials. The company also wants to focus more on "smart agriculture" and water stewardship.
"Our team is constantly striving to uncover and implement new ways to contribute to a healthier, cleaner environment. We are using the 100+ Accelerator to engage with others that share a similar commitment. There are so many talented innovators out there and we cannot wait to see what ideas come from this program,” said Angie Slaughter, AB's vice president of Sustainability.
From startups, 100+Accelerator lists ten major areas of focus:
- "Every Single Drop," pointing to the United Nations concern about water scarcity, "How can we address watershed conservation, improve water access, and reduce water wastage?"
- "Smart Agriculture," While science is improving crop yields, many farmers do not have access to the latest technologies. "How do we bridge the gap between advancement and access - how can we prevent crops from disease and pests and how can we use technology to ensure zero waste occurs in the sorting of malt barley?" In this area, AB is looking for ways to identify and prevent pests and diseases, fund smallholder farmers, prevent crop damage, look for more environmentally friendly fertilizers and develop technology for eliminating waste for malt barley and other grains. https://100accelerator.com/…
- "Close the Loop," looking for greener packaging and recycling programs, especially in developing countries.
- "Future of Brewing," How can technology making the brewing process more efficient and reduce waste?
- "Carbon Action," Reflecting that companies such as AB need to be more aggressive in reducing emissions, "What are the cutting-edge renewable energy solutions for farms, how can technology be used to monitor energy and increase efficiency and what new solutions are there for removing carbon from the atmosphere?"
- "Safer and Greener Logistics," How can a company like AB reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of the supply chain footprint?
- "Responsible Sourcing," How do companies increase transparency in a complex supply chain and improve responsible sourcing practices?
- "Empowering Small Business," How can technology be transferred throughout the supply chain? "How can we promote economic productivity through digital training and financial inclusion?"
- "Waste to Wellbeing," In another tie to agriculture, AB notes "The current food supply and how we consume globally is not sustainable. Can the millions of tons of grain and yeast co-product be repurposed and used to help feed those who need it?"
- "All Hands," AB InBev has 200,000 employees. "How can our company improve its working environment to make it more focused on recycling, conserving water, and travelling more efficiently?"
While AB is seeking a broad array of ideas, time for start-up companies to submit their ideas is somewhat short. The deadline for submissions to these long-term sustainability goals is Sept. 14. Details can be found at https://100accelerator.com/…
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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