How many times have we heard about how “unprecedented” this year was because of COVID-19? We will unfortunately have to hear this phrase over and over again for the foreseeable future, as the virus continues to disrupt the livelihoods of our communities day after day. As a company that plans to be around for the next 100+ years, it’s imperative that we as a company at AB InBev do everything we can to support our people, customers, consumers and communities.
This year, at the United Nations Global Assembly, we solidified our commitment and made it clear that our purpose of bringing people together for a better world has never been more relevant than today. We are living in a world that has been upended by COVID-19 and there’s a vital need to rebuild into a better future for all. With quarantines set in place in different countries, habits and routines have been disrupted, requiring us all to adapt and sometimes examine our behaviors, including alcohol consumption.
As a consumer-facing company, we want to ensure that we reduce the harmful use of alcohol, as it affects our communities and our business. We want to be part of the solution; and will not let up to foster a healthy, safe environment and thriving society. Our goals have, and always will be to promote public-private partnerships to disrupt harmful drinking and make every experience with beer a positive one.
Though there is much work to be done, we haven’t stopped. We launched our Global Smart Drinking Goals in December 2015 to contribute to the World Health Organization target of reducing the harmful use of alcohol by at least 10% by 2025 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of strengthening the prevention of harmful use of alcohol globally. This isn’t something new for us, as AB InBev has worked for over three decades in promoting responsible drinking. Among several of the initiatives we have spearheaded, we have also engaged and worked along with governments, multilateral organizations, trade associations, NGOs, academia, experts, and civil society – all with the same goal in mind.
More recently, our ambition has led us to offer our consumers more options for no and low alcohol beers, as you may have seen. If you haven’t tried them yet, I recommend Budweiser Zero and Aguila 0,0 from my native Colombia. We strive to make these alternatives appealing and available to all our consumers and beer aficionados by making sure their options retain the same quality and taste as other products. This initiative seeks to reduce the overall alcohol intake of consumers, allowing them to enjoy beer in a much safer way.
Smart Drinking, however, isn’t all we talked about.
We also discussed the role of the beer industry as strong engine of economic growth and resilience – and explaining how we can play a valuable role in supporting recovery. Beer’s value chain is unique because of its multiplier effect on the economy: it affects everyone from farmers, to bottlers, suppliers, and those involved in the hospitality industry. Several of these workers, especially women, who have been the most affected by the pandemic, are the driver of growth and economic stimulation in their communities. Allowing the industry to operate and work on many fronts will be beneficial to livelihoods globally…and we at AB InBev, are here to make that happen.
Here’s to recovery, Smart Drinking, and working together to make the world a better place!
All my best,