Our products have been part of celebrations for centuries. But if we are to continue this tradition, we must think carefully about the sustainability of our operations, recognising and reducing our impacts on the natural world and the people with whom we share it. Stewardship of the environment is not only the right thing to do, it is essential for the continuity of our business.
Every time a consumer enjoys one of our products, he or she becomes a link in a long value chain that connects rivers and fields, distilleries, breweries and vineyards, transport networks, packaging manufacturers and retailers. At every link in that chain, there is an impact on the environment, and we believe it is our responsibility to minimise that impact as far as possible and work actively to protect the resources that our business and our communities need.
Some impacts are global – we are making good progress, for example, towards halving carbon emissions from our operations by 2015, and are committed to making the packaging of our brands more sustainable.
Some impacts need local solutions – like the problem of landfill, which we are on course to eliminate from our operations by 2015, and which 24 sites around the world have already eliminated.
One of our most critical environmental impacts of all is on water – a necessity for individuals, families, communities, and local economies, as well as fundamental to the sustainability of our business. Recognising that this challenge is most acute in some of the regions where we are growing fastest, we have continued to focus extra attention on those of our production sites that are in areas that are 'water-stressed*', all of which are found in Africa – where we have made encouraging progress this year.
Ultimately, we aim to be a business which does not deplete natural resources, and causes no lasting damage to species, habitats, biodiversity or the climate. We want to continue to be the world’s leading premium drinks maker – and a leader in environmental sustainability.
* According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, water stress occurs when annual water supplies drop below 1,700 cubic metres per person. When supplies drop below 1,000 cubic metres per person per year, a country faces water scarcity for all or part of the year.