Anheuser-Busch announces partnership to develop a more sustainable beer can
October 6, 2020 - In a first for the canned beverage industry, Michelob ULTRA beer drinkers will soon be able to enjoy their favorite brew out of cans that are not only infinitely recyclable, but made from this responsibly produced, low-carbon aluminum.
In a first for the canned beverage industry, Anheuser-Busch, America’s leading brewer, has formed a global partnership with Rio Tinto, a leading producer of responsible aluminum, to deliver a new standard of sustainable aluminum cans. The two companies have signed an MOU committing to work with supply chain partners to bring Anheuser-Busch products to market in cans made from low-carbon aluminum that meet industry-leading sustainability standards.
Leveraging Rio Tinto’s low-carbon aluminum made with renewable hydropower along with recycled content, Anheuser-Busch will produce its most sustainable beer can yet, with a potential reduction in carbon emissions of more than 30 percent per can compared to similar cans produced today using traditional manufacturing techniques in North America. The partnership will also leverage outcomes from the development of ELYSIS, a disruptive zero carbon aluminum smelting technology.
Initially focused in North America, Anheuser-Busch plans to pilot the first 1 million cans produced through the partnership on Michelob ULTRA, the fastest growing beer brand in the United States.
“As a leader in the beer industry, Michelob ULTRA has a responsibility to our consumers and our planet to use our platform for good and lead the way in sustainability,” said Ricardo Marques, Vice President of Marketing, Michelob ULTRA. “Sustainable packaging is a key opportunity to highlight our commitment to the environment in a tangible way and we are excited to explore the opportunities to bring this to life in 2021 and beyond.”
The partnership builds on Anheuser-Busch’s 2025 U.S. Sustainability Goals, launched in 2018, which include a validated science-based target to reduce carbon emissions across its value chain by 25 percent by 2025 and invest in more sustainable packaging options across its product portfolio.
“At Anheuser-Busch, we are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our carbon footprint across our entire value chain and improve the sustainability of our packaging to reach our ambitious sustainability goals,” said Ingrid De Ryck, Vice President of Procurement and Sustainability at Anheuser-Busch. “With this partnership, we will bring low-carbon aluminum to the forefront with our consumers and create a model for how companies can work with their suppliers to drive innovative and meaningful change for our environment.”
Currently, around 70 percent of the aluminum in Anheuser-Busch’s cans is recycled content. By pairing this recycled content with low-carbon aluminum, Anheuser-Busch will take a key step towards reducing the carbon emissions in its packaging supply chain, which is the largest contributor of emissions by sector in the company's value chain.