Our approach

Much of our environmental, social and economic impact occurs through our value chain, and our consumers expect our products to be sourced and manufactured responsibly. Our goal is to create a world-class value chain that we, along with our customers and suppliers can be proud of. Part of our approach includes buying from local suppliers where possible, and collaborating with customers and suppliers on shared sustainability priorities. These include sustainable farming of raw materials, reducing the environmental impact of our packaging and marketing materials, waste management, and reducing scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions.

The HEINEKEN Supplier Code of Conduct forms the basis of our approach to working with suppliers and covers our expectations in three main areas:

  • integrity and business conduct (legal compliance, conflicts of interest, confidentiality)
  • human rights (safe work practices, fair treatment, equal opportunity, no child and forced labour, and values associated with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Core Conventions of the International Labour Organization)
  • environment (resource efficiency, reducing environmental impact and the use of environmentally friendly technologies)

We also use the internationally-recognised EcoVadis supply chain management system to identify potentially high-risk suppliers.

Our progress

Action on plastics

In 2019, we began to fully map and tackle plastic use across our business. Our plastic footprint includes plastic wrap and shroud used for transportation and protecting stock, PET bottles, keg caps, crown liners (the liner inside bottle caps), and plastic labels used on some product lines. Although DB’s plastic footprint is relatively small, it is a material issue for our business because of increasing plastic pollution in the environment and the limitations on plastic recycling in New Zealand.

During the year we worked closely with our glass supplier, O-I, to reduce the level of unrecyclable plastics on their bottle deliveries. We identified the red plastic sheets on their pallets as something we couldn’t recycle and worked with them to create a better solution. As a result, they changed to a recyclable clear plastic sheet for all their customers nationwide. We also reduced the plastic stretch wrap used at our DB Draught Brewery by over 2 tonnes by reducing the amount used on products bound for export, while maintaining safety and security of the products.

Towards the end of the year, we changed the type of plastic wrap we use to a stronger alternative that offers better stretch. This is expected to reduce plastic stretch wrap usage by 30% or around 15 tonnes annually. We also worked with our in-house cafeteria provider to eliminate plastic bottled water from our Waitemata Brewery and swap plastic plates and cutlery to commercially compostable alternatives. Finally, we ran a workshop with Comvita where staff made their own beeswax wraps from wax from our onsite hives. Beeswax wraps are used for wrapping lunches and leftovers, and each wrap can save up to 75m of plastic cling film from being used.

DB’s commitment to plastics reduction also extends to Joylab, which was the first major hospitality group to remove single use plastic straws from their venues in 2019. They divert the majority of their waste from landfills and are utilising compositing facilities where possible. This is an important focus for the group as they work towards zero waste venues.

Product stewardship and packaging

We are a member of Packaging Forum, which implements a voluntary product stewardship scheme and public waste infrastructure. The Forum’s vision is that by 2025, all packaging in New Zealand will be reusable, recyclable or compostable. To achieve this, we work together to ensure we find the best commercial and sustainable solutions. We’ve also partnered with Keep New Zealand Beautiful to help reduce litter in our environment. You can read more about the partnership here.

Ethical sourcing

As part of our commitment to protecting human rights across our business, we conducted our first human rights impact assessment, which looked at human rights risks and opportunities across our value chain. You can read more about this in our Safe and healthy workforce section.

Key targets and performance

In 2019, 100% of our suppliers signed up to our Supplier Code of Conduct, making DB the first HEINEKEN operating company to meet this significant milestone.

Key measures 2020 target 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Number of suppliers n/a 1,148 1,321 1,535 1,327 1,663
% local (NZ) suppliers by spend 96% 96% 96% 96% 90% 87%
% suppliers signed up to Supplier Code 100% 100% 99% 98% 100% 100%
EcoVadis assessments of potential high risk suppliers 0 0 0 5 3 0
Suppliers declining participation in EcoVadis assessment 0 0 0 0 1 0
Suppliers exited due to declining participation in EcoVadis assessment 0 0 0 0 1 0
Suppliers requiring action plan due to confirmed high risk 0 0 0 0 0 0

Looking ahead

Plastic reduction in our value chain will continue to be a major focus for DB over the coming years and we will work with our suppliers to identify and implement plastic reduction opportunities for incoming and outgoing goods from our sites.

Case study: Collaborating to find circular waste solutions in Timaru


In May 2019, DB hosted a sustainability forum with the South Canterbury Food Processing and Manufacturers Group, the University of Canterbury and Aoraki Development to discuss how we could collectively manage by-products and waste.

Read more