Heineken: A Procurement Path to Net Zero

How are brewers Heineken using procurement as part of their path to net zero?

Heineken is pledging to be fully carbon neutral by 2040 across its full value chain, and are following a strategy called ‘Brew a Better World’ to achieve their aims. Alongside an increase in the use of renewable energy, the procurement and sourcing of materials is a significant factor in the company reaching their goals.

The wider target in sustainable sourcing is to be using 100% sustainable barley and hops by 2030.    Sustainable sourcing is a key driver for achieving its carbon reduction targets and the practice driven by procurement will help improve other environmental and social conditions – from water use to labour practices.

“Staying true to our company values and culture, we’ll continue to grow. But we will do so sustainably,” writes Dolf van den Brink, CEO. “We’ll never stop exploring new ways to innovate, create efficiency and reduce costs. We’ll stay curious, keep learning, and create new ways forward.”

Dolf van den Brink, Heineken CEO (Credit: Heineken)

Heineken and sustainable sourcing 

The business is also expanding its strategy to work with suppliers to develop low carbon production practices.  Heineken has grown its low carbon farming programme from 8 to 15 countries and aiming for 200 pilot farms by 2025.  The programme is to test the effectiveness of using less fertiliser and using regenerative or conservation agriculture techniques that enrich soil health and increase its ability to capture carbon.

After 2027, the most successful approaches will be scaled up and are planned to be adopted by around 10,000 farmers. The company then plans to share its findings and by 2030 equip and train more than 10,000 farmers and sourcing partners so they can adopt the best methods.

“The Heineken Low Carbon Farming program will enable many of our partner farmers to explore new techniques that allow CO2 reduction and sequestration. I am proud to see that our partner engagement has led to the program growing exponentially,” says Geraldine Bernard, Global Sustainability Manager.

Heineken and sustainable packaging procurement

The baseline emissions figure for packaging was 29% for the beginning of the strategy, which the company says has made it a key area of focus for their programme. To reduce this footprint, it is adopting a ‘reduce and replace’ approach to the procurement of glass, aluminium, plastic and paper, and using design innovation to reduce emissions.  

The strategy states a move to a more circular approach to keep the materials in use for as long as possible, and to work closely with suppliers to develop and scale more efficient packaging.

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