Responding department: Better World/CSR

Stock Exchange Symbol: (ABI:BB)

Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights?

YES. This is a standalone human rights policy ([link]).

It is also referenced on Page 5 of our Code of Business Conduct [link]

In addition, we reference Human Rights issues in our Global Responsible Sourcing Policy [link].

How are human rights governed in your company?

  • Lead responsibility for Human Rights is shared by the Better World/CSR and People/Human Resources teams.
  • A cross-functional Human Rights Working Group is in charge of setting/reviewing the grievance mechanism, developing training materials and KPIs, as well as tracking and driving implementation.
  • Our Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer and Chief People Officer have oversight of human rights issues.
  • Human rights concerns are reported to through our compliance helpline or online, and this data is regularly reviewed with the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors.
  • Not only is it an ethical imperative to respect and protect human rights, but we also reduce our operational and reputational risks, increase trust with investors and other stakeholders, attract and retain top talent, and align with globally accepted value system standards.

How are human rights managed within your company?

Through our Code of Business Conduct training, management level employees receive human rights training on an annual basis. In addition, we have developed a Human Rights training toolkit to educate our line employees on our human rights policy and available grievance mechanisms. Actual and potential human rights impacts are identified and assessed based on a number of risk factors – both inside our operations and in our supply chain. Our business partners are notified of our human rights commitment via our Code of Business Conduct ([link]), Global Human Rights Policy ([link]) and Global Responsible Sourcing Policy ([link]).

What is the company’s approach to the engagement of stakeholders (including workers, and local communities impacted by the company’s activities), on human rights issues?

We engage with our employees through formal and informal dialogue to make sure they are aware of the standards, expectations and commitments in relation to our responsibility to respect human rights in our own operations. We communicate our grievance mechanisms so they may report any potential violations of human rights within our operations and by other parties. In addition, through our Global Responsible Sourcing Policy, we communicate our expectations to the companies from which we purchase products and services and assess their performance through a variety of engagements, such as self-assessments and third-party audits.

Furthermore, we take part in industry and NGO initiatives that seek to improve operational and supply chain performance. We are a member of Business for Social Responsibility, a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world, and AIM-Progress, a global forum of consumer goods companies sponsored by the European Brands Association and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. These memberships help us promote responsible practices as well as responsible supply chain and sourcing standards covering labor practices, health and safety,environmental management and business integrity. As an AIM-Progress member, we report audits of our suppliers to AIM-Progress.

We are also a member of SEDEX, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to driving ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains. As the largest collaborative platform for sharing ethical supply chain data, SEDEX is an innovative and effective management solution that helps AB InBev reduce risk, protect our reputation and improve our supply chain practices.

Priority human rights issues: What are some of the priority human rights issues for your company?

The company selected the following from a check list:

  • Health (including environmental health, workplace health & safety)
  • Workplace diversity / non-discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Freedom of association and trade union rights
  • Transparency in payments to governments / responsible tax practices
  • Product Misuse
  • Other Issue(s)

Actions on health

Workplace Safety and Health is one of our priority issues and not only have we made it a part of our Global Human Rights Policy, but we have also developed a standalone Health and Safety Policy to work vigorously to achieve high standards of occupational health and safety to prevent all accidents, injuries and occupational illnesses within our operations globally.

As such, we have built a safety culture focused on openness and effective reporting to encourage appropriate behavior, practices and procedures that avoid incidents and injuries. Led by our managers, every AB InBev employeehas a personal responsibility to observe and promote our global health and safety policies. Our Safety organization covers our entire worldwide operation, including our Supply brewing operations, as well as our Second-Tier Logistics and Sales groups. Safety committees are mandatory in all our facilities to ensure compliance and formalize an ongoing dialogue between the company and employee representatives. These committees concentrate on eliminating unsafe conditions, identifying improvements, reviewing incidents and accidents and ensuring effective communication.

Within each of our Supply facilities and main distribution centers, a designated safety manager works directly with the leadership to support the management and workforce in running operations safely. At the end of 2013, we launched a new global system for reporting incidents and accidents. This will allow more accurate data analysis and more focus on the areas where we have the most improvement opportunities. We also put in place a safety program for our innovation teams on the zone and global levels in order to install sound safety and change management processes in our innovation programs, experimental breweries and experimental packaging labs.

How are human rights commitments and information about how the company addresses its human rights impacts communicated, internally and externally?

Through our annual Global Citizenship Report, we regularly provide an update on key areas impacting human rights, including application and training related to our applicable human rights policy and its provisions, our safety record, our employees who are part of bargaining units, diversity and other indicators. We also annually communicate our progress as part of our commitment as a signatory to the UN Global Compact.

What provisions does your company have in place to ensure that grievances from workers and affected communities or individuals are heard, and can you provide examples of remedies provided?

One can report an alleged violation to a line manager, Legal or Compliance Department, or through our compliance helpline. Our main grievance mechanism is the compliance helpline/whistle blowing line that we encourage/train our employees to use to report any activity they believe might be a violation of human rights in addition to laws, regulations, our Code of Business Conduct and our policies. The helpline is available to all employees 24/7 and is toll-free where one can confidentially and anonymously report any concerns in their own language by phone or by web. The reports are then treated and investigated confidentially. Our Compliance and Internal Audit team, as well as the Chief Legal Officer and Chief People Officer, review the report and oversee remedies, as applicable.

Which external and collaborative human rights initiatives does your company participate in, and what is the nature of your involvement?

We are a signatory to the UN Global Compact and members of AIM-Progress, a global forum of consumer goods companies sponsored by the European Brands Association and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and SEDEX, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to driving ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains.

Which are the key one, two or three elements of your approach to human rights that been developed or amended since June 2011? Please indicate if these actions were in response to the UN Guiding Principles.

As a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, we are committed to business practices that do not infringe on human rights and that do align with various international standards of responsible business conduct, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization's Declaration on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Our Global Human Rights Policy formalized in 2013 sets out standards, expectations and commitments in relation to our responsibility to respect human rights in our own operations and to not knowingly contribute to the violations of human rights by other parties. To that end, our commitment to human rights applies to all AB InBev operations and to full-time, part-time, and temporary AB InBev employees and independent contractors. It also applies to any subsidiaries or joint ventures where AB InBev has a majority interest or management control; in those instances where AB InBev does not have a majority interest or management control, we encourage our business partners to abide by the principles in this Policy.

What are some of the obstacles and challenges that your company encounters in implementing its human rights commitments?

While we have a Responsible Sourcing policy, identifying and addressing human rights violations in our supply chain presents the greatest challenge. We are committed to working with our partners to continually improve our processes and systems to ensure they are robust and that our policy is being put into practice.