Heineken CEO addresses
European Business Summit
World of Heineken 40 - summer 2009
Heineken CEO Jean-Frangois van Boxmeer was among the top
government and business representatives who gathered at the
European Business Summit in Brussels in March to discuss key issues
concerning Europe's economic and sustainable development.
The theme of the summit was 'Dare and Care: sustaining Europe's
ambition', with particular attention given to finance, social dynamism
and sustainability. Around 3,000 people attended the event and
Heineken was one of the main sponsors.
Jean-Frangois was one of the speakers at a workshop discussing
sustainable production and consumption. Also included in the panel
were executives from Coca-Cola and Procter Gamble, as well as
officials from European Union organisations.
Jean-Frangois gave a presentation titled 'Active from barley to bar'
in which he explained Heineken's supply chain process. Heineken
operates 125 breweries in more than 70 countries around the
world. He mapped out what Heineken does to maintain sustainability
throughout the supply chain process.
He started out by underlining the three core values on which Heineken
builds its sustainability approach: passion for quality, responsible
enjoyment of its product, and respect for people, societies and the
environment in which it operates. He gave a number of examples of
sustainability activities already embedded in the Heineken supply
chain process, from local agricultural sourcing in Africa to responsible
marketing and the promotion of responsible consumption.
"We must be patient but relentless" when it comes to sustainability,
Jean-Frangois concluded. It is especially important that different
parties, such as businesses, non-govermental organisations and
banks, work in partnership with each other.
The Heineken CEO's workshop invited a number of positive reactions
from the audience. Julian Carroll, Managing Director of EUROPEN (The
European Organization for Packaging and the Environment) said he
was encouraged by the commitment to green issues shown by the
leaders of blue chip companies like Heineken, Coca-Cola and Procter
"All of these companies are aiming for the same sustainable
destination, though some may be taking different routes," he said.
"The debate that followed strengthened my belief in the positive 'can
do' approach being taken by companies like Heineken, even in the
present difficult economic climate."
Jean-Frangois gave examples of Heineken's activities, such as the
sustainable farming of barley, a key ingredient for making beer. On
a regional basis, the firm also supports local farming in an effort to
lower C02 emissions and increase local economic impact, especially
in developing countries.
In Africa, Heineken sources about 40 per cent of its ingredients
locally and aims to increase this number substantially. In Sierra Leone,
around 3,000 farmers participate in Heineken's sorghum programme,
using the native African cereal for brewing purposes. Currently,
around 50,000 small farmers are involved in Heineken's supply chain
To find out more about Heineken's appraoch to sustainability, please