Beer drinkers will soon be able to enjoy their favourite brew out of cans that are both recyclable and responsibly produced as a result of a global partnership between diversified miner Rio Tinto and brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev).
The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work with supply chain partners to bring AB InBev's products to market in cans made from low-carbon aluminium that meets sustainability standards.
Initially focused in North America, the partnership will see AB InBev use Rio Tinto’s low-carbon aluminium, made with renewable hydropower along with recycled content, to produce a more sustainable beer can.
This will offer a potential reduction in carbon emissions of more than 30% per can compared with similar cans produced today using traditional manufacturing techniques in North America, the companies say.
The partnership will also leverage outcomes from the development of Elysis, a disruptive zero-carbon aluminium smelting technology.
The first one-million cans produced through the partnership will be piloted in the US on Michelob Ultra, the fastest growing beer brand in the country.
Rio Tinto outgoing CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques says Rio Tinto’s partnership with AB InBev “is the latest development and reflects the great work of our commercial team”.
Currently, around 70% of the aluminium used in AB InBev cans produced in North America is recycled content and by pairing this recycled content with low-carbon aluminium, the brewer will take a key step towards reducing the carbon emissions in its packaging supply chain, which is the largest contributor of emissions by sector in the company's value chain.
“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,” comments AB InBev North America procurement and sustainability VP Ingrid De Ryck.
Through the partnership, AB InBev and Rio Tinto will work together to integrate innovative technology solutions into the brewer’s supply chain, advancing its transition toward more sustainable packaging and providing traceability of the aluminium used in cans.