HEINEKEN Vietnam delivering further sustainable initiatives

09:15 | 29/12/2019
HEINEKEN Vietnam had an impressive year expanding their footprint, introducing new products and supporting communities in 2019. Believing that 2020 will start a decade in which the world makes a meaningful change to adopt a more sustainable approach, HEINEKEN Vietnam managing director Jacco van der Linden explains how the company remains fully committed to demonstrating that a sustainable business model can go hand-in-hand with business success.
heineken vietnam delivering further sustainable initiatives
HEINEKEN Vietnam is proud to offer a wider range of products in the country over the last 12 months

What were some of the key milestones that HEINEKEN Vietnam achieved in 2019?

heineken vietnam delivering further sustainable initiatives
HEINEKEN Vietnam managing director Jacco van der Linden

Our consumers are very much at the heart of what we do. We introduced a few great innovations in 2019 to cater to Vietnamese consumers’ diversifying taste preferences. The most significant new innovation was the launch of Heineken® Silver, a brand new smooth and easy-to-drink variant developed by Heineken’s Master Brewers. Heineken® Silver is currently only available in Vietnam and was especially brewed with the Vietnamese consumer in mind.

We introduced Sol, a new and refreshing international beer from Mexico, as well as bringing the crisp and refreshing Strongbow Cider to Hanoi. In April, we delighted more than 70,000 consumers by hosting the first official F1 Vietnam Grand Prix Kick-off event in Hanoi as we started the countdown to the first Vietnam Grand Prix in April. Passion for quality remains one of our most important values and we made sure that Vietnamese consumers only drink the best quality beers, as a result of which our Hoc Mon Brewery won the Global Tiger Quality Award for the seventh time.

Last but not least, we successfully expanded the availability of Strongbow, Larue, and Bivina across Vietnam in 2019.

HEINEKEN Vietnam has been recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in Vietnam recently. Can you share with us how your company achieved this prestigious recognition?

We strive to Brew a Better Vietnam by creating positive value for people, the planet, and prosperity. For example in 2019 we helped communities by sponsoring seven new clean water stations under our One Minute Less for A Million Smiles programme that helps underprivileged communities across the country get access to a safe and reliable water source. We also continued to run our Warm Spring charity programme, providing 4,800 gifts to underprivileged families across the country with a total value exceeding VND1 billion ($43,500).

In terms of minimising our environmental impact, we already send virtually zero waste to landfill with close to 100 per cent of the waste and by-products from our breweries being reused or recycled. In order to expand our impact beyond our breweries, we additionally developed one of our first brand-led sustainability campaigns, the Tiger Cap Recycling programme where Tiger Beer drinkers are encouraged to recycle the bottle caps to reduce littering and avoid them ending up in landfill. The bottle caps are collected at Tiger Beer outlets and recycled into raw materials that are then used to build bridges for the local community. This campaign increases awareness on recycling, educates consumers on reducing waste, and at the same time improves community infrastructure. Two bridges have been built so far: one in Tien Giang and one in An Giang; and a third is currently in progress in Ho Chi Minh City.

Overall, we continue to contribute significantly to Vietnam’s economic development by adding nearly 1 per cent to Vietnam’s total GDP and supporting 166,000 jobs. We know that if we can continue to create real sustainable value together, we can create an even greater positive impact here in Vietnam and it is very rewarding to see these efforts recognised by the government.

With so many accomplishments achieved in 2019, what can we look forward to in 2020?

One of the more exciting projects in 2019 was the expansion of our Vung Tau brewery. When completed in 2020, it will be the first carbon neutral brewery in Asia – meaning that it will be 100 per cent powered by clean energy. The clean energy will be generated on-site by a biomass plant that will provide the thermal and electrical energy required to power this mega brewery, making it one of the most sustainable breweries in the world.

It will also have world-leading water efficiency through advanced water recycling technology. It is a really great example of end-to-end sustainability with three strategic suppliers all located in close proximity to the brewery so that regular deliveries of malt, cans, and bottles are all coming from basically next to the brewery, lowering indirect CO2 emissions by requiring much less transportation.

From a social perspective, we will continue to try to drive behavior change around drink-driving through Heineken®’s When You Drive, Never Drink campaign. This is especially relevant in 2020 with the huge platform of the first F1 Vietnam Grand Prix taking place in Hanoi, of which we are a major sponsor.

Although we can be proud of the work done to date, there is still much more that can be done as we continue to learn and innovate. We want to continue to work with our stakeholders, continue to lead the discussion around sustainability and continue to share our best practices, in order to continue to have a positive impact for Vietnam.

As the New Year is coming, what message do you want to send to VIR readers on this occasion?

The season of welcoming the New Year is always an important time of reflection and of looking ahead. This time it is not just a new year, but a new decade is upon us. I believe this has to be the decade in which the world should make a meaningful change to adopt a more sustainable approach, as otherwise it will simply be too late. We need to make real progress soon on things such as climate change and global warming as the effects are already far too obvious in places like Vietnam.

Hence, HEINEKEN Vietnam remains fully committed to demonstrating that pursuing a sustainable business model goes hand-in-hand with business success. We strongly believe that sustainable development has to be a key foundation for Vietnam’s long-term prosperity. This long-term journey requires the ongoing commitment and effort of many stakeholders, including government, business, and consumers here in Vietnam. As the upcoming Year of the Rat is characterised by optimism, I look forward to this new decade with hope that indeed it will be the start of a more sustainable future. May 2020 be another year of happiness, health, and success for all.

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