On the 6th of May 2019, the European Business Summit took place in Brussels. This event regroups 2000 participants and more than 250 key note speakers including the president Juncker and vice-president Katainen of the EU Commission. It gives companies the opportunity to engage directly with EU decision makers and to demonstrate that their business can play a key role in developing solutions to the most pressing issues in Europe. AB InBev had the opportunity to participate in 3 different sessions of the event.
During the “Meet the Expert” session, Esteban Martinez, our Global Grants and Incentives Manager, hosted a 45-minutes discussion about “EU Policies & Business Interests for a Joint Action for Sustainable Europe”. The audience was composed equally of representatives from the business, and representatives of the European Institutions. Esteban spoke about AB InBev’s 2025 sustainability goals (more info here) which are supported by 3 key initiatives:
- Our internal management program, called VPO, which allows us to benchmark the best sustainability technologies inhouse and on the market, and roll them out across our 200 breweries in the world.
- Our 100+ accelerator, through which we partner up with startups all over the world, focused on 4 big pillars: Smart Agriculture, Water Stewardship, Circular Packaging and Climate Action
- Our LIFE Projects, which allow us to produce step changes in our energy usage, and develop new technologies to decrease our food waste through promotion of circular economy.
The LIFE projects are co-financed by the European Commission through their LIFE Program, promoting eco innovation in companies, from SME’s to Large Enterprises, including academia.
AB InBev is currently running 3 LIFE programs:
- LIFE BEVERAGE has developed a new technology that allows us to reduce the energy consumption during brewing.
- LIFE REFRESHMENT is focused on the upcycling of brewers spent grains through a fermentation, into a protein and fiber beverage.
- LIFE YEAST is investigating the reuse of spent yeast, after the brewing fermentation, to produce health
Esteban’s feedback about the session was very positive: “It was a great opportunity to present AB InBev, GITEC and our contribution to our sustainability targets through Life grant funded innovations. The audience was thoroughly impressed about our vision and efforts to meet our sustainability targets”.
After Esteban’s Meet the Expert Session, our Vice President of Procurement and Sustainability, Richard White, took part in a roundtable themed: “From R&D to Market Entry, What is Missing in the Race for Innovation to Foster European Champions?”. The roundtable was hosted by Dan Michaels, from the Wall Street Journal, and included Keith Sequeira (senior advisor, Research, Science and Innovation at the EC), Ashild Hanne Larsen (Equinor), Reinhilde Veugelers (Bruegel). During the roundtable, Richard stressed again that sustainability isn’t part of our business, but that it is our business and how our LIFE Programs are helping us to meet those targets.
Finally, David De Schutter, our Innovation and Technical Development Director Europe took part in a roundtable with vice-president Katainen on “Clean Technologies for a Greener Europe”. During this roundtable, the LIFE BEVERAGE project was discussed, a way to reduce the energy used during wort boiling in the brewing industry.
The overall experience of the European Business Summit was extremely insightful, it gave us the opportunity to connect with both policy makers and members of the industry.