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By Millicent Maroga

Barely four years after becoming a stand-alone company in this country, HEINEKEN South Africa

leads the alcoholic beverages sector in this year’s Top Companies South Africa Reputation Index rankings. Corporate Affairs Director, Millicent Maroga, isn’t surprised but is proud to be so highly rated in the single biggest measure of corporate reputation in South Africa. “Despite our relative newness, South Africans have bought our popular beer brands for more than two decades.

We are brand builders and the Heineken® brand defines and unites us while our many local, regional and global brands make our portfolio diverse and unique.” True to its identity of being a global family business, she adds, “We not only drive value for our shareholders but also prioritise our stakeholders through a passion for quality and enjoyment of life as well as respect for people and the planet.

It’s a tradition that dates back to 1873 when Gerard Heineken was so proud of the quality of his new lager beer, he put his family name on the bottles that left his Amsterdam brewery. Now, 146 years and 192 countries later, the Heineken® name is known and respected worldwide.”

The South African operation, a joint venture between HEINEKEN N.V. and Namibia Breweries, is a key player in the beer and cider industry. Its extensive portfolio of brands, includes Heineken®, Sol, Desperados, Windhoek, Miller Genuine Draft, Amstel, Strongbow, Soweto Gold, and Tafel.

Maroga assures that, as a priority in the HEINEKEN universe, South Africa is earmarked as a growth country. She adds “As such, our expansion project of some R1,4 billion into the Sedibeng brewery will ensure that the bulk of our products consumed in the country are produced here to the great benefit of the national economy, with the obvious advantage of job creation.” Elaborating on the company’s

Brewing A Better World sustainability agenda, she says it is designed to create genuine economic opportunities for the business and its stakeholders as they face ever changing industry challenges. “We focus on six areas where we and our stakeholders believe we can make the biggest difference: protecting water resources, reducing CO¥ emissions, sourcing sustainably, advocating responsible consumption, promoting health and safety, and growing with communities. And, because our business brings us in close contact with millions of consumers and stakeholders daily, we are uniquely placed to help communities prosper.

“The approach to sustainability covers the entire value chain ‘From Barley to Bar’ and our clear ambitions in our 2020 commitments are underpinned by milestones created to meet them. We are, for example, in the process of building a solar power plant to allow us to use clean energy for production, and plans are afoot to build capacity for a water reclamation plant to treat our wastewater foreuse in non-brewing activities.”

More than 10 percent of Heineken®’s marketing budget is invested in its responsible consumption campaigns and the company collaborates with various industry organisations, such as Aware.org, and regional liquor authorities, to address harm reduction within the industry.

With moderate consumption on the rise, HEINEKEN sees the importance of giving consumers options by increasing its offering in the Low & No alcohol category. “We are committed to making moderate consumption aspirational through our brand and the recently introduced Heineken® 0.0 expands the opportunity of various drinking occasions and the chance for beer lovers to enjoy their favourite brew at any time of day.”

Heineken® has been an official Rugby World Cup partner for 20 years but Maroga concedes that the Springbok win made this year very special for the SA company. “We always aim to create memorable experiences and bring enjoyment through all our sponsorship platforms and Rugby World Cup 2019™ was no different.

We had the unique opportunity to bring people together, demonstrating that everyone can enjoy the spirit of the tournament, whether they know the rules of the game or not.

Importantly, when we became aware that the SABC did not have the funds to secure broadcasting rights, we collaborated with our public broadcaster to make it possible for all South Africans to watch that historic final match. What a pleasure to play a meaningful part in the nation’s excitement and joy.

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