We depend on high-quality agricultural crops from thriving communities and healthy ecosystems to brew our beers. Our Smart Agriculture Goal focuses on where we can drive the most impact: in our direct sourcing programs with our agricultural development teams who work with over 20,000 farmers across 13 countries to produce our six priority crops barley, hops, rice, maize, sorghum and cassava.
Climate change is impacting our sourcing regions and we work to mitigate risks and build resilience through soil and crop management and improved crop varieties while also exploring how agriculture can be part of the solution to reducing GHG emissions, protecting watersheds and improving biodiversity. Beyond environmental impacts, we know climate change in agriculture is closely linked with the social and economic challenges farmers face across the globe.
We take a farmer-centric approach in our commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture supply chains and leverage our direct, local connection through our agronomists and researchers on the ground to reach our goal that 100% of our direct farmers will be Skilled, Connected and Financially Empowered by 2025. These three pillars outline the key elements of our work with farmers globally – we provide access to crop varieties, training, timely insights for better decision making and appropriate financial tools to build resilient supply chains across our sourcing regions.
Each year, we track our progress as the percentage of farmers we source from who meet the defined criteria for each goal pillar. Given that we track and report at the farmer level, transparency is foundational to our goal and the way we work with farmers. Whether we are working to improve soil health or to increase farmer profitability, our Smart Agriculture Goal provides the building blocks to drive locally relevant social, economic and environmental impact across our agricultural supply chain.
In 2020, we partnered with the Sustainable Food Lab to develop a bespoke global impact framework to tie our efforts on Skilled, Connected and Financially Empowered farmers to the social, economic and environmental impacts we are working towards. As we implement this framework, we are learning and sharing best practices across our global footprint, while also ensuring that our Smart Agriculture Goal continues to support resilient agricultural supply chains.
The success of our farmers and health of our sourcing regions are critical to ensuring the long-term viability of quality brewing crops, supporting thriving agricultural communities and contributing to a healthier environment.
Our work with smallholder farmers
Of the more than 20,000 farmers we work with globally, more than two-thirds are smallholder farmers – in many geographies this means they farm less than one hectare (or 2.47 acres) of land. Although smallholder farmers were historically only able to produce crops to meet their basic needs, they are now becoming more productive and profitable with greater access to technology, resources, agricultural support and formal markets. Through local sourcing and as a part of our Smart Affordability strategy, we are creating formal markets and new sources of income for crops that have historically been grown for subsistence – including cassava and sorghum – by producing local beers such as Eagle Lager in Zambia and Magnífica in Brazil using these alternative starches. As part of our Smart Agriculture goal to Skill, Connect and Financially Empower farmers in our supply chain, we are leveraging our agronomy teams as well as partnerships and innovation to help improve smallholder farmer productivity and profitability.
Respect for human rights is embedded into the way we think about impact and the way we aim to work with farmers – we want to ensure good working conditions which attract and retain people in agriculture for generations to come. Our Responsible Sourcing Principles for Farms set out our expectations on health and safety, labor, and environmental issues on farms and our impact framework guides our collaboration with partners and our farmers to implement the improvements we want for our supply chain over time.