Empowering communities

We recognise that creating long-term value for the communities with whom we work is essential. One of the key ways in which we do this is through our investment in long-term, actively managed programmes that empower people and increase their access to opportunity: and we want to make sure that we are making a contribution in the areas that matter.

Building a thriving communities: Ladies farmers sowing seeds

We've listened to our stakeholders and analysed our impacts. As a result we've identified three development areas where we can have a positive impact.

We have a long-standing commitment to giving people opportunities through skills, education and enterprise. Our approach has evolved over the years, looking increasingly at our entire value chain – from providing vocational skills in the hospitality industry in Latin America, Asia, and Europe, to working with smallholder farmers in Africa to increase their yields.

Our Learning for Life programme offers training and skills in key areas related to our industry and value chain, such as hospitality, retail, entrepreneurship, and bartending, offering disadvantaged people a genuine opportunity to gain employment and become active, respected contributors to their communities.

Our farmer empowerment programmes build on existing partnerships with suppliers and farmers by providing farmers with access to training, knowledge, and technology to improve the productivity and sustainability of their farms.

One of the most effective ways to increase opportunities for individuals and whole communities is by improving people's health and wellbeing. Improving water infrastructure and sanitation is a key element of this and is a focus of our Water Blueprint, which defines our commitment to an integrated strategy for managing our impact on water.

Our Water of Life Programme has reached more than 10 million people in 18 countries through more than 220 projects, including boreholes, wells, rainwater harvesting, and domestic filtration devices.

And because collaboration is essential to the success of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes, we continue to work with others on the global water and sanitation crisis, investing principally in countries where we operate or source agricultural raw materials. We also ensure that all employees in operations that are directly under our control have access to adequate WASH facilities, and we were the first alcohol beverage company to join the World Business Council for Sustainable Development WASH@Work Place Pledge.

When women have access to education and learning, there is a powerful ripple effect that positively impacts the community around them. Our focus on women’s empowerment reflects feedback from NGOs and other stakeholders about the impacts of the alcohol industry on women, and the importance women play in economic development.

We have set a goal to empower women through opportunities to learn and develop skills to help them influence society, the economy, and our business. We are committed to workplace diversity for our own business, as well as growing the talents, skills and capability of the women who work in our wider value chain.

Our female empowerment programme Plan W is focused on four key areas:

  • Our company: ensuring a diverse and equitable workforce.
  • Our industry: delivering targeted skills training to women in hospitality to improve their knowledge and job prospects.
  • Our communities: working with partners to train women in marginalised communities and help them find jobs and start businesses.
  • Our consumers: raising awareness among consumers.

We are proud to be the first alcohol beverage company to sign the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.

Building thriving communities: Woman taking part in plan W programme

Creating change by raising awareness

Our Plan W programme aims to empower women to play a greater role in the economy – and to succeed, it has to change the way people think.

Measuring our progress

We measure our progress in these three development areas against the following positive impacts:

  • improving access to clean water and improving access to sanitation
  • promoting gender equality and empowering women/girls
  • promoting inclusive, sustainable growth
  • promoting skills employability and life-long learning
  • reducing poverty
  • promoting better health and wellbeing
  • promoting a balanced lifestyle

Our sustainability and responsibility targets for 2020 reflect our commitment and ambition to build thriving communities. Our Annual Report and Sustainability responsibility performance addendum provide more information on how we're doing against our targets.

A flexible approach

We know that the challenges faced by our communities will vary, given our global footprint. So we’ve developed a strategy that allows our businesses to work with their local communities and partners on elements of any or all of our three development areas, according to which are considered most material locally.

Supporting local interests

We also contribute to local charitable causes and disaster relief, particularly in regions where employees and operations are directly affected.