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Ahead in the Cloud

Today, corporate reporting is not just about the financials. Companies are being called on to communicate their credentials on ESG – that’s environmental, social and governance. But how can a multinational with more than 500 brands like AB InBev, get a clear picture across all its operations and report against its goals with accuracy?

Sustainability targets – and transparency around them – are no longer nice-to-haves. They are business imperatives. And when it comes to mapping progress, the detail is in the data. 

AB InBev’s ambitious 2025 targets are centred around Smart Agriculture, Water Stewardship, Circular Packaging and Climate Action. To achieve these goals and drive sustainable impact, it needed greater visibility on its performance and a traditional Excel-based approach wasn’t going to work.

So, a Consulting, Finance and Performance team from Deloitte Belgium built a set of reporting models into a cloud-based tool called Anaplan. These would speed up data consolidation, increase accuracy and improve transparency.

“Organisations need to be guided by their moral compass and their bottom line – being able to make a sustainability impact while working on a data project is really fulfilling.”

Alicia Schweisthal

senior consultant, Deloitte Belgium 

Tools for the job

To support the client’s Smart Agriculture goal – for 100 per cent of direct farmers to be skilled, connected and financially empowered by 2025 – the team built a reporting solution. This is aligned to AB InBev’s agricultural internal technology platform SmartBarley, used by its agronomists – scientists in soil management and crop production – who visit their supplying farmers.

This solution is used to assess each farmer on the three elements of the company’s target. Today, AB InBev’s agronomists, as well as regional managers and the global sustainability team, use the reporting tool to measure progress and identify actions that need to be taken. 

Next, AB InBev turned to its Climate Action goal – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter across the company’s value chain and for 100 per cent of electricity to be from renewable sources. The cloud platform was developed based on an existing carbon emissions calculation model that the company had developed with partners, because the consolidation of information from several areas within the business was presenting challenges as the company increased its KPI-tracking frequency.

The platform calculates the carbon emissions of operations and other activities based on consumed energy sources and corresponding emission factors. This covers everything from the brewing process to the cooling of beer in pubs. As a result, the company can produce detailed and reliable quarterly emission reports, giving its sustainability team a detailed view on its own and suppliers’ performance.

Next up was Water Stewardship, which looks at water availability and quality across the supply chain. A scorecard-based reporting model was developed to help track and monitor water stress levels at its production sites. This is now used daily by teams across AB InBev.

Alicia Schweisthal, senior consultant in Enterprise Performance at Deloitte Belgium, explains, “AB InBev published incredibly ambitious sustainability goals and it needed to adapt quickly to monitor them. It is now even better-equipped now take understandable, real-time measures based on current performance and report internally and externally on its sustainability goals and progress.

For now, Deloitte continues to support AB InBev on its journey, with plans to further develop the cloud platform along the way. By putting smart solutions like this in place, we are aiding AB InBev in its goal of building a better business for a better future.

AB InBev’s 2025 Sustainability Goals

  • Smart Agriculture – 100 per cent of direct farmers skilled, connected and financially empowered.
  • Water Stewardship – 100 per cent of communities in high-stress areas to have measurably improved water availability and quality.
  • Circular Packaging – 100 per cent of products will be in packaging that is returnable or made from majority recycled content.
  • Climate Action – 100 per cent of electricity will be from renewable sources, with a 25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions across the value chain.