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Title:Sector Insight: CSR in the European beverage sector
Date of publishing:December 19, 2014

Sector Insight: CSR in the European beverage sector
December 19, 2014

When composing the Ethibel Investment Register, Forum ETHIBEL assesses companies' CSR performances on sector level in order to identify the best-in-class companies. This assessment is based on the meticulous company screening by Vigeo and the advice of the expert Register Committee. One of the sectors who's ratings were recently updated, is the European Beverage sector. This sector review explains which companies have been found eligible for inclusion in the Ethibel Pioneer and Excellence Investment Registers.

The European Beverage sector comprises 12 companies active in the field of brewing, distilling (spirits) and vintning (wines), production of soft drinks and bottling. These companies represent a combined total turnover of over 130 billion euro and a total workforce of about 440.000 employees.

Some CSR specific issues relevant for the sector are related to water consumption (which is a vital resource both in the agricultural stage, the industrial process as well as a key ingredient of all beverages), addressing negative societal impacts from the products (in particular obesity and alcoholism), transparent labelling of products and responsible marketing practices and the integration of labour standards in the supply chain. This is just a fraction of all assessed CSR criteria.

On the company level Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company confirms its position as one of the top performers. Even though the company faces a new allegation on product safety, no legal proceeding has followed so far. As a result Coco-Cola HBC has been reconfirmed for inclusion in both the Ethibel Excellence and Pioneer Investment Register. In addition one new company has been introduced in the Pioneer register. Pernod Ricard made steady improvement in all CSR domains, bringing the company at the level of the sector leaders and justifying its introduction in the Ethibel Pioneer Investment Register.

Another company whose inclusion in the Ethibel Excellence Investment Register was reconfirmed, is Diageo. Over the last years this company made considerable improvements in terms of its CSR performance, which is now nearly comparable to that of the sector leaders. However as Diageo’s performance on the level of Human Rights still remains weak, an upgrade into the Ethibel Pioneer Investment Register is not yet in the place.

Heineken and Heineken Holding (two companies with the same operations and the same employees, but difference in ownership) have been removed from the Ethibel Excellence Investment Register as their CSR performance remains weak overall. When adding the companies’ involvement in numerous controversies, their inclusion in the Ethibel Investment Register can no longer be supported.

The biggest players in the sector, AB Inbev and SABMiller, remain too weak in terms of overall CSR performance as to consider their inclusion. Other companies not making it through the selection are Britvic, Carlsberg, Remy Cointreau, C&C Group and Davide Campari.

Click here in order to consult the full selection of stocks included in the Ethibel Pioneer and Excellence Investment Registers (registration required).

More information on company assessment can be found on the following page: