Labatt's World Environment Day Activities Across Canada Celebrate Strategies & Results

TORONTO, June 2, 2011 /CNW/ - In anticipation and recognition of World Environment Day (WED) on June 5, Labatt and its employees are focused on activities that highlight and share its environmental strategies and successes.

For the past two years, Labatt and its Anheuser-Busch InBev sister companies around the world, have turned to WED, organized by the United Nations and held annually since 1975, to heighten awareness of everything its employees are doing to conserve and protect the environment. AB InBev is an official sponsor of World Environment Day.

"It's all part of increasing awareness and sharing environmentally-positive attitudes and actions that can work in a variety of companies," says Charlie Angelakos, vice president, corporate affairs, Labatt Breweries of Canada.

To achieve that goal, Labatt's breweries are hosting tours for government officials, environmental partners, community leaders and the general public on how Labatt's real-time best practices positively impact its water and energy consumption, as well as its recycling efforts. Water is always a primary focus because it is a finite resource and a key ingredient in Labatt's products and processes. The 2011 WED theme is Forests: Nature At Your Service, which is consistent with Labatt's focus on water issues.  Forests feed our rivers and are essential to supplying water for the world's largest cities.

In the lead-up to WED, Labatt's London brewery won first-place in the Ontario Water Works Association's private sector category for its significant improvements in water conservation. In 2003, the London brewery used seven bottles of water to produce one bottle of beer, but has since reduced that by half. Every year, the London brewery saves enough water to fill close to 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Charlotte Armstrong, Labatt's national manager, environment, health and safety says "It's gratifying to see our conservation accomplishments accumulate.  Over the past several years, our employees have realized that even the smallest, simplest and least costly innovations can have a significant, cumulative effect on Labatt's water, energy and recycling results."

On the WED brewery tours, employees will show and explain the types of action that can make such a difference. For example, many of Labatt's can and bottle pasteurizers have been reprogrammed to ensure water runs only when cans and bottles are present. As well, the number of rinser heads has been reduced and/or the old heads have been swapped out for more efficient models.

"It starts with employees asking why a piece of equipment consumes more water or energy than a comparable unit," says Armstrong.

For more than a decade, Labatt's company-wide Innovation program has empowered employees and leveraged their creativity, initiative and in-depth, firsthand knowledge of its brewing processes to help conserve water and energy. The various innovations, which are entered in a database that's available to all employees, are easily accessible to everyone.

Because water and energy are valuable resources as well as integral parts of the company's brewing processes, Labatt sets specific targets for its conservation and reduction goals.  Over the past five years, from 2005 through 2010, we reduced water usage by more than 18 million cubic meters, a 41% improvement.  Over the same period our fuel consumption is down by 28% on a megajoule per hectoliter of beer produced basis, and we have reduced electricity usage by 22%.  In 2010, Labatt's average recycling rate was 98.14%, a two percentage point improvement over the previous year with the six Canadian breweries diverting more than 200,000 tonnes of waste from landfill.  And Labatt remains focused on continuous reduction as we work toward the company's 2012 environmental targets:

  • Increase waste and byproduct recycling to 99%
  • Reduce water use to a beer and soft drink industry-leading 3.5 hectoliters of water per hectoliter of product (hl/hl)
  • Reduce energy use per hectoliter by 10%
  • Reduce CO2 emissions per hectoliter by 10%

For WED, Labatt and its employees are going beyond the brewery tours to get people thinking and talking about the environment. Breweries are hosting environmental fairs at which displays from partners such as municipalities, utilities and suppliers, will feature information on everything from water conservation to composting.

Toronto is North America's official host city for 2011 World Environment Day and Labatt will hold a reception for government, environment and other officials June 6 to cap a week of various WED activities in the city.

Additional initiatives include community trash and electronic waste collection, carpooling, cycling and walking to work and donations to local nature trails. To help conserve water, Labatt's male employees are also setting down their razors to compete in the Best of the Beards competition - recognizing that even one skipped shave saves 18.9 to 37.8 liters of water.

About World Environment Day

World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.  WED, which is celebrated every year on June 5, is one of the UN's principal vehicles to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and action. WED's objective is to:

  • Give a human face to environmental issues;
  • Empower people to become active agents of sustainable development;
  • Promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and
  • Advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.

Labatt regional WED activities - Background information only
Creston, BC
  Creston Brewery sponsored Dash for Trash on May 14 - including 200 volunteers and local dignitaries, who returned to the brewery to celebrate their clean-up achievements with a BBQ.
►  On WED week employees are organizing a clean-up with a local school.
►   Showcase to celebrate employee environmental ideas.
Edmonton, Alberta
►  Partnering with North Saskatchewan River Alliance with a booth and information session.
►   Environmental Showcase and BBQ on June 1 to celebrate 10 key employee environmental ideas.  ATCO (local utility) and Edmonton Waste Management Centre will participate.
►    The "Adopt a Block" program to be kicked off during the June 1st celebration.
London, Ontario
June 3rd afternoon (1:30pm to 5:00pm) a Second Thames River Clean-up, first clean-up was April 16, 2011. 
►  "Energy/water drive" during the week of June 3 which involves pairing up of manager and operator on a piece of equipment for operations review.  The teams will compete against each other to identify the most improvements.
►  Department Trash can blitz-audit on June 3 to ensure recycling plans are being followed, necessary signs/containers in place.
►  Alternate transportation to work contest, prize to individuals with the most participation.
Toronto, Ontario
Best of the Beards competition.
Employee Dragon Boat race on Lake Ontario in support of WaterKeepers charity
UNEP official to address employees on global partnership.
UNEP Reception to celebrate WED with local / UNEP dignitaries.
Labatt employee participation in UNEP Toronto activities - i.e. judges for environmental contest with Toronto students
►      Daily employee deskdrops with environmental office tips.
Montreal, Quebec
Two environmental media and LaSalle stakeholder events to be held at the brewery on Friday, June 3 to celebrate our environmental achievements.
LaSalle Mayor visited the brewery in May to recognize environmental achievements.
Employee and family Clean-Up Day partnership during WED week.
  • Clean-up in area near brewery.
  • Partnership with the LaSalle Social Development Board and the City of LaSalle. Participants and local media will celebrate the day afterwards at the brewery.
During week before WED, brewery environmental team will showcase employee ideas to improve environmental achievements.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Showcase and BBQ to celebrate employee environmental ideas in packaging, brewing and logistics.  Participants will include suppliers, residents, government officials (we expect remarks from senior environment department official) and the media.
Partnership with NSLC, Halifax Water Commission, Scotia Recycling, Nova Scotia Nature Trust, Clean NS Foundation Education, Ecology Action Centre and Resource Recovery Fund Board to display of brewery environmental achievements and awards.
E-Waste Collection: Keith's truck will be in the community volunteering to collect old electronic waste no longer accepted in landfill.
St. John's, Newfoundland
Showcase to celebrate employee environmental ideas - packaging, brewing and logistics.  Involves employees, families, suppliers, government officials (municipal and provincial), distributors and NLC.
On-site displays by various partners including municipal and provincial recycling/environmental initiatives, including Memorial University and Newfoundland Power.

SOURCE Labatt Breweries of Canada

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