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In 2006 alone, the nation's largest brewer generated enough renewable fuel to heat more than 25,000 homes, recycled more than 27 billion cans, cut its employee injury rate by nearly half in the last five years and helped its employees lose 5,000 pounds – an amount equal to the weight of two-and-a-half Clydesdales. These are just a few of the accomplishments noted in Anheuser-Busch's 2006 Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) report, released on July 26.
The annual EHS report focuses on the company's overall progress in promoting excellence in environmental, health and safety performance for its brewing, packaging, agricultural, entertainment and brewing-related operations. This year's report highlights a significant decline in workplace injuries, savings in water and fuel use, a decrease in solid waste disposal through waste prevention and recycling, and a strategic plan to address climate change issues.
Among the highlights of the report, which is available online at http://www.abenvironment.com/ are:
n Total injury rate down 43 percent since 2002 due to a continued focus on aggressive safety performance goals and heightened employee awareness.
n Solid waste disposal per net sales declined by 11 percent since 2001.
n Water use per net sales reduced by 3 percent since 2002. Brewery water use per barrel of beer has declined more than 20 percent since 1990.
n Recycled approximately 364,000 metric tons of used aluminum beverage containers – 27 billion cans – through its Anheuser-Busch Recycling Corporation subsidiary in 2006 – more cans than Anheuser-Busch breweries use to package their products.
"We are constantly looking for ways to improve our environmental performance by operating more efficiently, eliminating waste and reducing the environmental impacts of our activities," said John Stier, Anheuser-Busch's group director of Environmental Affairs. "This year's report shows we're meeting our goals and have a well-defined strategy to further reduce our environmental impacts."
Last year, Anheuser-Busch established a goal of reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent from its 2005 baseline by 2010. The company also set a goal to increase its use of renewable fuels from 8 to 15 percent in the same time period.
One of the most successful examples of Anheuser-Busch's environmental leadership is its position as the world's largest operator of Bio-Energy Recovery Systems (BERS), a method of pre-treating excess water from the brewing process and capturing biogas. This process converts waste nutrients into renewable fuel and reduces the energy demands that would otherwise be imposed on local sewer treatment systems. BERS-generated fuel used by the breweries equals the fuel needed to heat 25,000 homes for a year.
In 2006, the company joined several voluntary partnerships, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Climate Leaders, Landfill Methane Outreach and Smartway Transport programs, as well as the California Climate Action Registry.
"We were pleased Anheuser-Busch signed on to our Climate Leaders program last year, joining more than 130 other companies that are truly committed to taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint," said Kathleen Hogan, director, Climate Protection Partnerships Division, U.S. EPA.
Anheuser-Busch's employee safety programs are also a key element in the company's commitment to excellence.
"Providing a safe workplace is a fundamental business responsibility, and one that Anheuser-Busch takes very seriously," said John Fletcher, senior director, Corporate Safety and Risk Management. "We have developed a strong company culture focused on injury and illness prevention. The injury rate reduction we have achieved is a tremendous accomplishment and reflects the safety efforts of our subsidiaries and their employees."
As part of its holistic employee safety and wellness program called "Ability for Life," the company continued to emphasize with brewery employees and their families the importance of health-conscious decisions in all actions, such as good nutrition, exercise, regular health exams and the use of seat belts and bicycle helmets.
In 2006, Anheuser-Busch facilities introduced Weight Watchers and WellQuit tobacco cessation programs where employees received 100 percent reimbursement of costs upon achieving specific weight milestones and goals. Total weight loss reported last year was more than 5,000 pounds.
Employees have commended the company's emphasis on annual primary care physician visits and are actively completing their health plans' Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) leading to early diagnosis and treatment of potentially serious illnesses. To encourage participation in annual preventive care check ups and HRA, the company offered employees and their spouses the chance to win a grand-prize travel excursion worth $5,000, as well as smaller incentives.
Over the years, Anheuser-Busch has received numerous environmental, health and safety awards recognizing it as an industry leader, including the prestigious Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership presented to the company by then-Vice President Al Gore. In addition, for the fourth year in a row, Anheuser-Busch ranked first in the beverage industry for social responsibility in Fortune magazine's 2007 "
"Excellence in EHS initiatives is the direct result of the dedication and leadership of our employees, who are truly our most valuable renewable energy source," said Stier.