/ 8 March 2024

HEINEKEN steps up sustainability drive, moving to 65% returnable glass for beer portfolio in 2024

Heineken Returnable Star 650ml Bottle

Along with the Star Bottle, the company will be opening Green Zones across the country

HEINEKEN, the renowned global premium beer maker, has invested R2.3 billion in its returnable bottling programme in South Africa, more than doubling its share of returnable beer bottles. The move, which will see the Heineken® beer brand move into returnable glass, aligns to the company’s global ambition of net zero carbon by 2040 as per the Dutch Brewers’ “Brew a Better World” strategy.

Heineken® beer, which has the same bottle design in 190 countries world-wide, will break with tradition, unveiling a bold new design for its returnable bottle in South Africa, a change not made anywhere else in the world. The 650ml returnable bottle, dubbed the “Star Bottle” features the iconic Heineken® star on its body with the Heineken name deep etched into the glass.

Jordi Borrut, Managing Director of HEINEKEN Beverages, shares his enthusiasm: “This is an important decision for our global business, with the first returnable Heineken bottle to be sold on South African soil. Sustainability is a journey, and we are starting with a few footsteps in the right direction.”

HEINEKEN continues to demonstrate its dedication to sustainable business practices. In 2022 the company invested in a cutting-edge water reclamation facility and a state-of-the-art solar power plant with over 14 000 panels for its Sedibeng brewery, achieving an energy generation capacity of 6.5 megawatts, which reduced the brewery’s carbon emissions by approximately 30%.

Picture 2

Among its ambitions, the company aims to reach net zero carbon emissions across its value chain by 2040, which would position HEINEKEN 10 years ahead of the 2050 Paris Climate Agreement target, making the company the first global brewer to commit to such an ambitious timeline.

With the launch of its returnable bottle, Heineken®will be opening several Heineken® Green Zones — a collection of open parks and meadows complemented by food and flower gardens, as well as creative arts spaces in communities across the country, including Phillipi in Cape Town and Eldorado Park and Lawley in Johannesburg. 

This initiative aims to promote sustainability-driven behaviours within communities and provide essential recreational areas that integrate food gardens and inspiring art installations. The initiative will be run in partnership with GreenPop, a group dedicated to reforestation and urban green zones in sub-Saharan Africa.  The company aims to complete five green zones in the first half of 2024, with over 30 000 square metres of indigenous plants.

“The Heineken® Returnable Star bottle isn’t just about clearing glass; we should always push ourselves to do more to create sustainable change in the communities where our business operates. The Heineken® Green Zones are another way in which we can achieve that ambition,” explains Borrut. HEINEKEN has joined a number of global sustainability and net-zero initiatives, including the Climate Group’s RE100 program, We Mean Business Coalition, the Race to Zero movement, the Business Ambition for 1.5C, and the Climate Pledge.

“We recognise that sustainability is non-negotiable globally and we remain committed to maintaining sustainable business operations, and the introduction of the new Heineken® returnable bottle, along with the investment in the Green Zones, marks small but meaningful steps in the right direction,” says Borrut. 

For more information, visit: https://www.heinekenbeverages.co.za/