Brewer Budweiser AB InBev is “off track” to reach its goal of making 20% of its beer volume non-alcoholic and low-alcohol by 2025, its chief sustainability officer, Ezgi Barcenas, told Reuters.
“We’re still a little over 6%,” Barcenas said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, adding: “We’re on our way.”
AB InBev targets were set to help the World Health Organization achieve its goal of reducing the harmful use of alcoholic beverages (alcoholic beverages that cause car accidents, disease and birth defects) by 10% in all countries by 2025.
Barcenas said the targets were set before AB InBev’s mega deal with SABMiller, which led to a drastic change in the company’s presence.
He also said that AB InBev’s “business strategy is changing.”
“What we really want to do is provide the consumer with options and information,” Bárcenas said. “At the time this was announced, we didn’t have choice availability. We want to focus on choice rather than driving volume.”
AB InBev has reached the 20% target in some countries, such as China and Panama, according to its 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, which shows that it has also expanded its alcohol-free brands from 26 to 42 in the past . five years.
The brewer, whose brands include Hoegaarden Rose 0.0% and Jupiler 0.0%, now has more than 80 beers and non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beverages, Barcenas said.
Climate change and corporate actions to curb it are a topic at the annual meeting of business and political leaders in the Swiss alpine ski resort of Davos.
Barcenas said rising energy prices, seen by World Economic Forum leaders as a potential disruption to corporate climate goals, will hasten payback periods for green energy projects.
“It’s accelerating the transition and strengthening the business case for investing in efficiency,” he said.
AB InBev has a goal of net-zero carbon emissions across its entire value chain by 2040.
Like many beverage and consumer product manufacturers, it faces the biggest challenge of reducing its so-called scope three emissions, which come from consumers throwing away beer cans and bottles and distribution.