By Sophia McNab, Campaigns Officer, ShareAction
Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world’s largest brewer, today announced its commitment to transition to 100% renewable electricity across their global operations. Your Stella, Corona and Budweiser will soon be made using electricity sourced from the sun, the sea and the wind – and we can toast to that! AB InBev is marking its commitment by joining the RE100 initiative.
AB InBev has spent a number of years working on its 2025 target, involving numerous and substantial operations in markets around the world. Over the past year, a coalition of 34 investors coordinated by ShareAction had a role to play in supporting the final announcement around commitment to 100% renewable power. In January, members of this investor group – which overall represents $1 trillion assets under management – wrote to AB InBev to express their desire to invest in environmentally sustainable companies. Investors including Aegon Asset Management and Strathclyde Pension Fund asked AB InBev to consider switching to 100% renewable electricity for the environmental, financial and reputational benefits.
“As the world’s greatest purchasers and users of energy, business and industries are best positioned to lead the shift from fossil fuel to renewables and reach the ambitions set out in the Paris Agreement. ”
The wider group of proactive investors range from charitable trusts and faith investors to local authority pension funds and institutional investors. ShareAction coordinates the RE100 investor engagement initiative in the belief that we need to unlock the power of the investment system to build a cleaner and fairer world.
Investors in the world’s largest companies can use their position as shareholders to ensure those companies’ practices respect workers’ rights and the natural resources upon which they rely.
Investors in the world’s largest companies can use their position as shareholders to ensure those companies respect workers’ rights and the natural resources upon which they rely
Jeanett Bergan, Head of Responsible Investments at KLP said, “As the world’s greatest purchasers and users of energy, business and industries are best positioned to lead the shift from fossil fuel to renewables and reach the ambitions set out in the Paris Agreement. Collaboration among investors and owners of companies to push this agenda is most effective and powerful in driving the change.”
Today’s announcement is a great example of how investor engagement can work to amplify and encourage a company’s sustainability plans. AB-InBev’s interim goal of sourcing all their purchased electricity from renewables by 2025 will position them as the largest corporate direct purchaser of renewable electricity in the global consumer goods sector. It is expected to reduce the company’s operational carbon footprint by 30%.
AB InBev is joining the likes of Google, Apple and Nestlé in going 100% renewable… leading businesses support renewable power and that this demand needs to be met in the near, rather than distant, future
AB InBev’s public commitment is not only statistically significant in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy; corporate energy policies also set the tone of the public and political debate.
AB InBev is joining the likes of Google, Apple and Nestlé in going 100% renewable. These companies are sending a clear signal to governments and energy companies; that leading businesses support renewable power and that this demand needs to be met in the near, rather than distant, future. It is right that shareholders are involved in prompting this kind of progressive corporate decision.
Eoin Fahy, Head of Responsible Investing at KBI Global Investor said, “In the current political climate, with commitments to mitigate climate change under threat, it is even more important than ever that investors work together to encourage appropriate policy changes in the companies in which they invest. In joining the RE100 initiative companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev are pressing ahead with real and substantive changes to the way they do business. This is clearly in the best interests of the environment and society at large, and – importantly – AB InBev’s shareholders too.”
Equally important to ShareAction’s vision, we hope [this] motivates more investors to review their investment portfolio and their engagement strategies – how do they line up with a safe and livable climate?
However, as record-breaking climate change pushes the world into “truly uncharted territory”, the task ahead is urgent and sobering. Scientists are already questioning whether it will be possible to meet the central aim of the 2015 Paris Agreement: to limit global temperature rises to ‘well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels’, with an ambition to cap warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. Meeting this ambition will require the rapid transformation of the energy sector, with renewable energy generation displacing carbon-intensive energy sources. The global economy must be greenhouse-gas neutral by mid-century.
In this complex picture, investors and the pension funds responsible for our future financial wellbeing, must step up to play their part. We welcome today’s commitment to 100% renewable electricity from AB InBev and hope it galvanizes more companies to do the same.
Equally important to ShareAction’s vision, we hope it motivates more investors to review their investment portfolio and their engagement strategies – how do they line up with a safe and livable climate?
Thanks Sophia! ShareAction has laid out a broad programme of action for the climate-conscious investor, of which company engagement on renewable electricity use is one part. It also includes engagement with sectors of critical importance such as banks and fossil fuel companies.