Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is one of the world’s leading brewers. The following is an interview with Mr. John Hsu, President of Southeast Asia at AB InBev, about “Bringing People Together for a Better World,” a Dream the brewer has been pursuing in the long term.
Q: What does “Bringing People Together for a Better World” really mean?
A: Beer has been for a long time a social item bringing people together. As the world’s leading brewer with a history of more than 600 years, AB InBev wants to take the history to make our Dream “Bringing People Together for a Better World” become reality. “Bringing People Together…” means that we use our products and brands to connect with consumers and provide them shared experiences, such as meeting friends and enjoying beer tastes. “… for a Better World” means that our products serve billions of people around the world. We believe in our mission and tasks of together moving the society into a positive direction which is responsible drinking and environment in association with community engagement. Besides products, AB InBev also focuses on human being and society. That is how we are building “a Better World.”
How is the Dream realized in Vietnam?
In Vietnam, we are doing what we have been doing in other countries around to pursue our Dream. For example, during Covid-19, we worked closely with the Vietnam Red Cross to donate 250,000 cans of pure water that are produced by AB InBev to quarantine facilities and hospitals. We also donated 140,000 cans of pure water to drought-hit provinces in the Mekong Delta.
In addition, we have conducted supporting programs that help our partners in Vietnam reduce financial pressure during the pandemic. We supported them in shifting from offline selling to online selling via e-commerce platforms and new ways of delivery, like door-to-door delivery. Right after Covid-19 was under control, we have also offered solutions which help activate their business and hosted events to help them bring business back. AB InBev has set long-term targets in Vietnam and believes that Covid-19 is just short-term. We are now expecting a big rebound.
How can your sustainability goals be reflected in this Dream?
As a global company as well as citizen, AB InBev puts sustainability high on our agenda. Climate change is a global issue. At AB InBev, we have set a goal of using 100% of renewable energy and reducing 25% CO2 emission in our value chain and supply. Actually, we already started the plan of renewable energy in Vietnam last year. Our two breweries in Binh Duong Province have installed solar panels on their rooftop. Basically, 40% of energy for the two breweries come from solar power. Subjecting to local laws and regulations, we expect to move forward with a target of using 100% of renewable energy in Vietnam in the coming time.
How about AB InBev’s 2025 sustainability goals?
From the global point of view, with a vision to 2025, we hope to engage with not only energy but also packaging, water and even smart agriculture. We have set these dimensions as our key agendas. For each agenda, we have a specific plan. In Vietnam, we have also committed reusable packaging and renewable energy.
Please brief us more about expectations for Vietnam from your global smart drinking program.
As part of our Dream “Bringing People Together for a Better World,” we have conducted the Smart Drinking Program for many years in different countries, including Vietnam. Early this year, the Vietnamese Government issued Decree 100 on banning alcoholic intake among drivers. Actually, similar regulations had been in place across many countries long before. As a company with hundreds of years of history, AB InBev wants to make beer positive. Moreover, we have supported the World Health Organization in reducing harmful use of alcohol by at least 10% by 2025. We also reduce alcohol in our products and launch zero alcohol products. Responsible drinking is not only a regulation but also our culture and belief. AB InBev has recently regulated specific instructions on levels of alcohol or the best consumption of alcohol on daily basis for women and men in our products. We have complied with countries’ governments as well as partners in raising awareness of responsible drinking in the community.
From business view, we understand that both Covid-19 and Decree 100 have been a double hit. What have you done in order to minimize the adverse effect of Covid-19 in Vietnam? Could you expect better business in the context that Vietnam seems to have put Covid-19 under control?
We always respect and comply with the local regulation of countries where we operate as it is also part of our Dream for a better world. In terms of business, we encourage customers to drink smartly and responsibly. We see Decree 100 also aims for that purpose.
About Covid-19, Vietnam may be one of the safest countries in the world as the Vietnamese Government has contained the pandemic efficaciously. During the period, we have expanded our market in Vietnam, especially the Budweiser brand. That gives us a lot of confidence in the upcoming quick recovery of Vietnam’s economy.
Talents are always big assets of a company. What would you say about your local talents? Could they be able to fly high in their career with AB InBev?
Our greatest strength is our people. At our company, everyone is pushed to step outside of their comfortable zone as we believe that people can achieve everything they want if they have the right plans and the right paths. We also help them create their clear career paths via our training courses. After two years working with my Vietnamese staff, I see that Vietnamese are smart, hard-working and ambitious people. Our Global Management Trainee (GMT) Program fast-tracks the careers of the brightest, most driven university graduates through a 10-month rotation that offers in-depth exposure to our business operations and global projects.
In conclusion, our local colleagues drive our success every day by leading change and delivering results. With a workforce of approximately 300 people truly are our greatest strength, and we are committed to attracting and retaining local talented people who can help build our company to last.
Reported by Vuong Anh