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How we are protecting human rights across our business, value chain and sponsorships

Posted: May 18, 2022
How we are protecting human rights across our business, value chain and sponsorships

At AB InBev, we are committed to respecting human rights across our value chain and believe it is fundamental to creating healthy, thriving communities -- from the smallholder farmers who grow our ingredients to the events we sponsor.

Our polices are the foundation of our approach and are based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the International Labor Organization (ILO) fundamental conventions. We continually review these policies with stakeholders to ensure they remain relevant and effective. We recognize the important role that equality plays in creating healthy and thriving communities. For example, in 2019 and 2020 we strengthened and clarified our principles around harassment and discrimination and more clearly set out our non-retaliation policy for those who raise grievances in good faith.

We have identified our salient human rights issues, based on analysis of findings from our human rights due diligence processes, data from our grievance mechanism and input from stakeholders, including through NGO and union reports and bilateral engagements and projects. While we have identified key areas of focus that include living income, child labor and our sponsorship of global sporting events, we continue to work on human rights issues more broadly and build effective action plans with relevant functions to manage these risks. We will continue to engage with external stakeholders to improve our risk assessment process.

Taking a stand against gender-based violence

In order to raise awareness of the impacts of domestic violence in the workplace and provide support for the well-being of our colleagues, we launched a Global Domestic Violence Leave Policy. This policy enables our colleagues to confidentially speak up and seek support when experiencing or recovering from domestic violence by providing support where possible such as temporary adjustments to work tasks, flexible working hours, up to 10 days of paid leave and referrals to specialists and counseling.

Our Zones have been rolling out this standard locally in support of those impacted by domestic violence, and they are doing so in a way that is bringing awareness to this devastating issue both internally and externally. In South Africa, Carling Black Label has been committed to equipping, inspiring and mobilizing men to stand against gender-based violence since 2017 with the #NoExcuse Movement which aims to reduce the occurrence of GBV. In China, our team launched the internal campaign #BreaktheSilence to raise awareness of the Global Domestic Violence Standard and to share an information booklet, The Silent Pandemic, covering local facts on the issue along with common myth busters. Additionally, Bolivia partnered with Pro Mujer (a nonprofit development organization that provides financial inclusion, health and education programs to women) to launch the country’s first contact center hotline to support women in violent situations. 

Protecting recycling collectors in our supply chain

By embedding respect for human rights within our entrepreneurship programs, it allows us to improve the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable people in our value chain and support improvements in other human rights issues that impact them. AB InBev works to develop can and bottle recycling programs across our markets, and we recognize the vital contribution of recycling collectors in many countries, particularly the role of women within these supply chains. We have developed projects that integrate collectors, small and medium enterprises and cooperatives to increase collection efficiency, improve the livelihoods of recycling collectors and work towards our circular packaging sustainability goal.

Through different programs across our Zones, we look to partnerships and innovation to work with formal and informal recycling collectors. To help us to understand the impacts affecting recycling collectors and guide the identification of effective solutions, we worked with Oxfam GB to create an impact framework and toolkit that we piloted in 2021. Building on this framework, Oxfam GB worked with two of our programs in Brazil and Mexico to guide the actions we take.

Human rights in sports sponsorships

We believe that sport has the power to bring people together. That is why we are a founding member of the Centre for Sports and Human Rights and a member of its advisory board. This council was created alongside other sports sponsors and stakeholders to meet the need for a dedicated organization to convene stakeholders around human rights issues.

Our work with the Centre for Sports and Human Rights and our commitment to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights guides our approach to sports sponsorships, including our role as the Official Beer Sponsor of the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ in Qatar. We recognize that important labor reforms, such as implementing minimum wage and dismantling the employer sponsorship or Kafala system, have been established to improve the rights of workers in Qatar; however, more can still be done. We support access to procedures that can achieve fair remedies to migrant workers who have been negatively affected.

We will continue to evolve our approach, learning from stakeholders and remaining responsive to the needs of people and communities as we work towards a more inclusive future.

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