Impact SA

HEINEKEN: Brewing a Better World

Waste Recycling

Over the past decade, HEINEKEN’s global CSI approach to Brew a Better World has had a profound influence on their business the world over. The company’s aspiration to be responsible corporate citizens is encapsulated by Brew a Better World; a strategy which guides our actions in the areas of Environmental, Social and Responsibility. It has driven us to innovate and collaborate to protect the environment, support local communities, and make a positive contribution to society – and support the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Being the most international brewer, with operations around the world, we have a responsibility and an ambition to brew a better world, both globally and locally. We believe in working in partnerships to achieve shared goals and scale our positive contribution and we are passionate about making a positive impact on the planet. HEINEKEN’s holistic CSI programme operates across all nine provinces in South Africa, and incorporates Enterprise and Supplier Development, transformation, sustainability, and compliance” says Tutu Malinga, Transformation and Sustainability Manager at HEINEKEN South Africa.

Tutu Malinga, Transformation and Sustainability Manager at HEINEKEN South Africa

Care for people and the planet

As part of the company’s environmental strategy to maximise circularity, HEINEKEN continues to find meaningful collaborations to achieve this goal. One such collaboration is Project Vuselela – a KwaZulu-Natal-based project co-supported by the company to collect non-returnable bottles through waste collectors, which are re-used for brick making or as cullet for other glass products. The project is now being leveraged to collect the Heineken® brand’s returnable bottles to improve the corporate’s circularity, remove both returnable and non-returnable bottles from the environment and better manage HEINEKEN’s reputation as a responsible and caring corporate.

To further support the project, the waste collectors are provided with PPE, waste bags, waste bins and collection trolleys to make their working environments safer and more efficient.

With over 300 waste collectors registered in the project, 73% are female. The largest volume of glass is collected through informal waste collectors in townships and peri-urban settlements. In South Africa, waste collectors account for 80% of recycled materials being collected for recycling.

As an income-generating initiative, the waste collectors make a living from the project as they trade the waste collected, including glass, based on its weight.

CSI Initiatives: Intervention programmes

Underage drinking

“Our three-year underage drinking intervention programme supports victims of alcohol abuse and creates awareness around the dangers of underage drinking. We approach schools using a hybrid and Afro-centric model based on a model which proved to be a huge success in Europe. We see the lives of young people changing every day due to this intervention. Through this initiative, we look at all the influences in a child’s life. We have interventions for teachers, parents and guardians, and community members – all the people who touch the life of a young person. We also reach out to tavern owners that operate near schools to assist them in understanding what it means to be a responsible trader and not sell alcohol to underage drinkers.

“It’s a holistic programme that incorporates counselling and psychosocial support, and the unique take on a generic model has proved hugely successful,” says Tutu. HEINEKEN is also an active member of, an industry organisation aiming to reduce the harmful consumption of alcohol through public education and awareness, evidence-based targeted interventions.

Binge drinking

We believe alcohol, when consumed in moderation, can be part of a well-balanced lifestyle. That is why we are committed to advocating responsible consumption and supporting efforts to decrease harmful consumption. We’re helping to make moderation cool by allocating 10% of our annual media spend on campaigns promoting responsible consumerism, reaching one billion people globally. This year we have partnered with an ICAN organisation for one of their intervention programmes which focus on binge drinking amongst tertiary students. We have managed to penetrate three provinces thus far. The programme approaches TVET colleges to address binge drinking amongst young people, training and educating them to become champions for responsible drinking.

Alcohol consumption amongst pregnant women

“The World Health Organisation has rated South Africa as the number one country with women who consume alcohol during pregnancy. Our intervention programme in various provinces has helped raise awareness around the dangers of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other associated health issues resulting from consuming alcohol while pregnant,” says Tutu.

Prevention of shack fires during winter months

HEINEKEN’s Shack Fire Prevention Programme provides fire detectors to households within rural community monitor areas. When the temperature rises due to a fire, the detector sets off an alarm so that inhabitants can evacuate. This initiative highlights the company’s care for communities and has been successful in limiting the number of deaths and injuries due to shack fires.

HEINEKEN aims to bring about change to alcohol outlets through various programmes. “We want traders to be forward-thinking in how they promote their businesses. For example, the promotion of safety. We assist traders to improve the lighting systems around their establishments and have security cameras. We encourage them to be responsible traders and not sell to underage youth. We also provide training to help them understand the importance of promoting the sale of food so that consumers don’t drink on an empty stomach. Through our various national interventions, we hope to continue to brew a better world,” concludes Tutu.


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