Brewer Anheuser-Busch has formed a global partnership with aluminum producer Rio Tinto to deliver sustainable aluminum cans made using hydropower. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding committing to work with supply chain partners to bring Anheuser-Busch products to market in cans made from low-carbon aluminum that meet sustainability standards.
Leveraging Rio Tinto’s low-carbon aluminum made with renewable hydropower along with recycled content, Anheuser-Busch will produce a sustainable beer can with the potential reduction in carbon emissions of more than 30% per can compared to similar cans produced using traditional manufacturing techniques in North America. Currently, around 70% of the aluminum in Anheuser-Busch’s cans is recycled content.
The partnership will also leverage outcomes from the development of ELYSIS, a disruptive zero-carbon aluminum smelting technology, according to a press release.
Initially focused in North America, Anheuser-Busch plans to pilot the first 1 million cans produced through the partnership on Michelob ULTRA.
“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% 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.”
Anheuser-Busch owns and operates more than 100 facilities, including breweries, wholesaler distribution centers, agricultural facilities and packaging plants and produces Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob ULTRA and Stella Artois, as well as a number of regional brands.