Keeping safety and respect top of mind for our people, suppliers and communities

Posted: December 10, 2020
Keeping safety and respect top of mind for our people, suppliers and communities

Respecting human rights matters to all of us and at AB InBev we take this responsibility seriously. Protecting our people, partners and communities starts with our Global Human Rights Policy and the standards, expectations and commitments it sets, while our Global Responsible Sourcing Policy ensures our supply chain also respects our Human Rights Principles. And our commitment to human rights did not waver when tested by the pandemic and difficult events of this year.

In honor of UN Human Rights Day, today we reflect on the ways AB InBev continues to ensure the safety of our people across our entire value chain, and how we are helping the communities where we live and work become more resilient and recover better.

People first 

The health and safety of our people is always our top priority. We have implemented precautionary measures to ensure that working environments remain safe places, and these measures go above and beyond guidelines from the World Health Organization and local governments. We are also regularly updating and sharing resources for the physical and mental well-being of our colleagues.    

Our teams in China and South Korea were the first to be impacted by this crisis and their response was remarkable. Leveraging their experience and insights has allowed us to be more agile as we responded around the world.  

Protecting our partners 

To help some of the most vulnerable people in our value chains, we partnered with local governments and others to provide educational health information, deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) and donate food packages. 

In Zambia, for example, in addition to giving briefings on preventative safety measures, we distributed hand washing stations, PPE, and hand sanitizer to aggregators and recycling collectors from the Manja Pamodzi sustainable recycling program. 

Manja Pamodzi is a community-based initiative supported by Zambian Breweries to reduce consumer packaging waste and improve sanitation and hygiene in 14 communities throughout Lusaka, Zambia.

As our retailer partners shifted their business models worldwide to address social distancing restrictions, we provided digital training on enhanced protocols to help ensure the safety of our customers and consumers. Our teams also found creative ways to help support the incomes of people in our value chain, by creating online delivery platforms in Mexico, Colombia and six other Latin American countries. The platforms help people get essential goods while giving neighborhood grocers and shops access to needed income in uncertain times. 

Our agriculture teams also stepped up to the challenges posed by the pandemic. They ensured that the farmers who grow local ingredients for our beers have access to vital information digitally or via radio. They also adapted buying centers to ensure that farmers could sell their crops safely and maintain their cashflow. In Mexico, despite halted beer production due to restrictions, AB InBev upheld commitments to purchase local barley as promised. We also ensured timely payments so that farmers had cash on hand to support their families and to plan financially for the next growing season. 

Learn about the many ways AB InBev is supporting farmers during the pandemic.

Additionally, we took part in a research project that used mobile voice technology to collect valuable feedback from our contract workers, recycling collectors and farm workers across Africa. The findings gave us meaningful insights into the safety measures they need and how we can better sustain their livelihoods during the pandemic.  

Continuing our efforts 

While we provided essential items such as sanitizers and face masks in our communities, we also continued our work on key human rights initiatives from 2019. 

For example, we are working to embed human rights and farm safety as key components within our approach to sustainable agriculture, enabling us to take a more holistic view of human rights within our agricultural programs. And together with leading sustainability organization, Sustainable Food Lab, we created a framework to help us understand the needs of our farmers and impact of our programs. We're building on that framework with other NGO partners to better meet the needs of our many women-led farms.

Because informal waste collectors are important partners in helping us to achieve our 2025 circular packaging sustainability goals, we created a social impact framework and toolkit with Oxfam GB to help us to better understand our collectors' needs and challenges. 

We know we can achieve more by working with other organizations and subject matter experts. For example, AB InBev joined the Shift Business Learning Program, where companies across a wide range of sectors share best practices. Together we've created our approach to human rights due diligence, determined how we identify and understand potential human rights impacts in our business and value chain, and this year adapted it to online delivery being piloted in Uganda and Nigeria.  

As we gear up for a fast recovery, we continue to embed respect for human rights in the way we build resilience across our value chain and communities.  

To raise awareness of human rights issues in value chains, AB InBev developed an interactive training program in partnership with the World Economic Forum, the International Organisation of Employers and Labyrinth Training. To learn more, see our free Supply Chain Ethics online training.

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