Sustainable Development


Making more beer using less water

Water is becoming a scarce resource, due to the growing population in Uganda, yet very important in our business.
Recent studies show that the level of water in the Nile Basin is decreasing rapidly, therefore causing us to regard water conservation, as one of our top priorities. Nile Breweries has implemented a comprehensive improvement plan, to support the drive for continuous improvement in water efficiency.
We have set ourselves targets to lower the water usage in our operations. At Nile Breweries, we are proud that we have reduced our water consumption from eight hectolitres of water per hectolitre of beer produced in 2006 to less than 3.6 hectolitres today. This has been achieved through a number of capital projects such as the recovery of filter-backwash water for floor washing in non-production areas, machine cooling water recovery and reuse and improved metering. We have also worked hard to improve employee awareness on saving water. Each week, every department in the brewery reports their water usage to ensure performance matches our targets.

The company has in place ultra-modern Effluent Treatment Plants at all sites to ensure the brewery discharges clean water into the River Nile and River Rwizi.
The process involves removing solids from the waste stream, restoring the pH balance of the water, converting organic material into biogas and sludge, disinfecting the waste water and then returning it to the river. We are able to use the biogas as fuel to power our brewery plants and the sludge is used as a fertiliser while yeast is used as feed for animals by local farmers.
Award: In 2012, Nile Breweries Limited won the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) Award, as the best corporate in environment protection.

We are committed to improving our energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gases and have a holistic plan to achieve it. We have over the years achieved our energy efficiency numbers currently sitting at an average of 128MJ per hectoliter.  Our energy usage targets just like water efficiency, is supported by a comprehensive improvement plan for the next 3-5 years on a rolling basis.
In addition to the long term plans, we run localised short interval plans, aimed at creating better utilisation of both energy and water.
The carbon footprint is mapped and emissions are measured within the scope of the plant, which includes information from fleet distribution services.
We began piloting non Hydro Fluorocarbon (HFC) fridges as well as a planned replacement of all non HFC air conditioners with HFC.
Annual fuel consumption for first tier on wholesale distribution is being recorded.
In addition, the company has set up the following qualitative measures, as action plans to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint subsequently.
• Insulate all steam pipes and flanges to reduce wastage;
• Optimize boiler combustion and condensate recovery efficiency;
• Prepare scope and quote for separate spent grain blower for brew house B;
• Optimize use of biogas from the ETP to benefit utilities.

Nile Breweries Limited is focused on being a returnable glass operation. The returnable bottle strategy enables us to reuse, recycle and therefore reduce our impact on the environment.
Glass by nature is brittle and therefore breakage as result of age or mode of handling is at times inevitable.
As an approach towards environmental sustainability, broken glass is collected and returned to Central Glass Industries in Nairobi.  This is where it is re-melted and remoulded into new glass bottles. There is no monetary benefit to the company for this recycling exercise.
It is purely done for protection of the environment and after realization of our corporate social responsibility in the area of reducing waste footprint.
Another category of waste that is recycled comes from packaging namely; carton boxes and polythene lining. Carton boxes are sold to Aquila Investments for packaging other products manufactured by cottage industries. Polythene lining is sold to traditional roast nut and snack producers.
Waste separation at source is key, as it makes it easier and more attractive for the potential user besides in line with the objective of sustainable waste management through re-use.
The company has acquired and installed a weigh bridge to support and measure the quantities of material inflow and wastes generated during the manufacturing processes.

Nile Breweries has a very robust approach to waste reduction through the establishment of highly efficient operations.
By operating efficiently, waste is significantly reduced. Areas that have received special attention include the following.

  • Water usage reduction through benchmark studies and identification of areas of pilferage. Profit Improvement Projects are then applied to allow more focused approach to management of the problem.
  • Energy usage reduction is another area that we focus on. We currently recover energy from vapor evaporating off our brew house.
  • We have condensate recovery systems and are working towards reduction of steam energy used during wort boiling (brewing process).
  • The waste water treatment plant generates methane (biogas). This is currently flared to minimize impact on ozone layer. A gas boiler project has been scoped to support recovery of energy from this process. Three years down the road, the company produces 841,082NMᵌ of biogas annually.
  • We have set up an asset management plan to ensure that plants run efficiently and effectively. Teams are trained to the required skilled level and performance is reviewed on a daily basis.
  •  Our spent grain is managed by a third party contractor, who provides it to the farmers at a manageable cost for their animal feed.

Supply chains that reflect our own values and commitment

In partnership with the government of Uganda, NBL pioneered the use of local raw materials (LRM) in commercial brewing of clear beer in Uganda – the LEAP.

  •  This initiative is aimed to offer low income consumers affordable, hygienic clear beer made from LRM, as an alternative to home brews and informal alcohol.
  • Epuripur sorghum was developed as a brewing raw material by the Serere Animal & Agricultural Research Institute (SAARI).
  • The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development instituted a lower rate of excise duty for LRM beer (30% for non-malt beer versus 60% for malt beer).
  • Sorghum usage multiplied from 1,600 tons in 2003, to over 8,500 tons per annum .
  • Income of over Shs8.7 billion is earned by +/- 9,000 farmers and 100,000 beneficiaries, in over 20 districts across Uganda.
  • NBL offers a guaranteed market and price for sorghum. This provides an improved standard of living for farmers, schooling and health care for their families etc.

The “win/win” model of a public private partnership (PPP) in the sorghum project emboldened the Government and NBL to adopt a similar approach to beer made from imported malt.

  • Malted barley is still the most common and preferred raw material for commercial beer brewing globally because it has a high enzyme content for converting starches into sugars, necessary to make alcohol.
  • By 2008 +/- 60% of clear beer in Uganda was still brewed from imported barley malt, so there was a strong incentive for both parties to explore ways of substituting imported malted barley for locally grown barley malted in Uganda.
  • Imported malt is farmed and processed at huge commercial economies of scale in the cooler climates of Europe.
  • The Government and NBL devised a scheme that would enable the company to build a malting plant to produce malt from local barley, which would be cost competitive with imported malt.
  • NBL shareholders approved a $20m investment in a new malting plant, after government announced a new excise rate of 40% for local malt beer in June 2009.
  • This lower rate of excise would enable NBL to produce local malt at a competitive cost to imported malt, while recovering its investment in the malting plant.
  • Uganda would benefit from a new market for locally grown barley, plus conserving valuable foreign currency used to purchase imported malt.
  • The malting plant has a capacity of 15,000t of malted barley/ annum, which would require +/- 20,000t of barley as raw material.
  • NBL currently consumes +/- 11,000t of malt/annum, which will grow to 15,000t in 3 years.
  • The malting plant has created 24 permanent new jobs as well as employment for another 5,000 to 10,000 farmers.
  • We appreciate scaling up local barley farming will be much more complex and challenging than sorghum -some of the difficulties associated with barley farming include:
  • Limited geographic footprint due to specific temperature, rainfall and soil requirements, unlike sorghum which grows in most regions of Uganda;
  • Fragmented gardens due to land tenure system and lack of commercial farms;
  • Poor soil husbandry due to low fertilizer usage and crop rotation;
  • Little use of fungicides, insecticides and herbicides to protect the crop;
  • Absence of irrigation to supplement low rainfall;
  • Very little mechanization to improve productivity, and:
  • Poor knowledge of barley farming best practice.
  • All these factors contribute to relatively low yields, and are compounded by post-harvest losses due to inadequate and insufficient drying and storage facilities.
  • The typical yield for a Ugandan smallholder barley farm is 800kgs/acre, compared to 1.5t/acre for NBL model farms and up to 6t/acre for an irrigated farm.
  • Deficient infrastructure, including roads and bridges that are often impassable during and following rains, force many farmers to rely on donkeys for transport, a painfully slow and inefficient process.
  • On top of this, NBL carries much of the financial risk of barley farming: seed acquisition and distribution, leasing land, crop pre-financing, purchasing of fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
  • Inevitably we need to invest in mechanization e.g. moisture meters, tractors, harvesters, threshers and dryers.
  • Most importantly, we need to invest heavily in training of farmers to produce high yielding, high quality malting barley in sufficient quantities to meet brewing demand.
  • Clearly, in the context of a shortage of local barley compared to demand and malting capacity,
  • We still have much to learn as we seek to leverage this major-investment in our local supply chain.
  • Retention of the preferential local malt excise rate will be essential, while we scale up local barley farming, to absorb the full capacity of the malting plant.
  • Therefore, we rely on the continued collaboration of government and farmers, to help all partners realize the benefits of this noble enterprise initiative.
  • Brewing local raw material usage and purchases are extremely sensitive to changes in excise rates, so brewers require a stable and predictable excise regime, to support the on-going investment and growth.
  • The farm gate value of local raw material purchases of sorghum and barley exceeded Ushs.10 billion for 2011/12 (note this excludes purchases of local maize and sugar).
  • Arguably, lower local raw material excise is a more efficient mechanism for alleviating rural poverty than higher taxes, because money paid for cash crops goes directly to smallholder farmers.

Corporate Social Investment

Under our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) strategy, Nile Breweries Limited engages in initiatives that are over and above profit making, so as to help local communities improve their lives.

We mainly focus on empowering local communities with information, skills and life improvement tools, as opposed to cash hand-outs.

Nile Breweries works closely with partners who bring to the table technical skills and matching funds in implementing our CSI programmes. In this regard we, among many initiatives, have:

  • Worked with an NGO, ECH, to provide HIV/AIDS education, voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to 10,260 people amongst our farmers, truck drivers, and bar workers. We call our health programme “From Grain to Glass.”
  • We have provided boreholes to our farmers in the districts of Amuria, Amuru, Budaka, Bukedea, Dokolo, Lira, Katakwi, Kibaale, Kumi, Oyam, and Serere. Not only have these boreholes been drilled at a cost of 235 million shillings, giving an estimated 9,000 people 65 million litres of clean water per annum, but there are also associated benefits, such as reduced health costs due to drinking safe water, estimated at Ushs.1.3 billion, according to a social return on investment (SROI) study conducted about the boreholes.
  • A SROI study is an innovative tool that can be used to measure and manage the social value and impacts of the corporate social investment (CSI) projects.
  • We have given 32 all-expenses paid scholarships to gifted primary schools leavers from poor farming families to study in the prestigious secondarywhere they would have otherwise been barred by the high fees.
  • We call it the “Equality Scholarship.” A maximum of 12 scholarships are given annually.
  • We have similarly provided secondary school scholarships, at St. Mary’s College Lugazi, to all the orphans of the July 11, 2010 twin terrorist bombings in Kampala.
  • In addition, we protect the environment through tree planting initiatives in our supply chain. We have introduced 14,000 tree seedlings into the environment over the past five years.

We have drilled 15 boreholes in water stressed farming communities across 15 districts over a period of 4 years.

As a result over 12,125 farmers are benefiting from 70.3 million litres of water per annum and enjoying improved health care from drinking clean water.

The water initiative has generated a total social return on investment (SROI) of Ush 5,600 for every Ush 1,000 invested.
Green Towns Project
As a commitment to protect the environment, we have planted 14,000 trees among farmers to protect their farms from soil erosion. We have also planted trees in our main trading towns through the “Green Towns Project.”

We run the Equality Scholarship, an initiative started in 2011 to provide secondary school scholarships to gifted children of rural farmers to study in Uganda’s elite secondary schools. It aims to bridge the income gap and allow special talent to blossom—bringing life-long changes to the fortunes of poor households through quality education.
The scholarship will cost Ush 1.5 billion to fully cycle the first six years of admissions (2011-2023).

So far, the scholarship has 63 beneficiaries. In a related initiative, Nile Breweries offers secondary school scholarships for all orphans of the victims of the July 11, 2010 twin terrorist bombings in Kampala, targeting fans watching the finals of the Soccer World Cup.

We are in partnership with Gayaza High School, Nabisunsa Girls School, Uganda Martyrs Namugongo, Kings College Budo, St. Mary’s College Kisubi, Ntare School, Namilyango College, Seeta High School, Namirembe Hillside High School and St. Mary’s College Lugazi to provide the two scholarships.

HIV/AIDS has been a public health problem in Uganda for the last three decades. We are committed to reduce the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS in all its spheres of operation.

The company’s HIV/Aids interventions target the employees, their families, the community around the brewery; as well the wider supply chain in an initiative dubbed “From Grain to Glass.”
The company conducts routine HIV/AIDS voluntary counselling and testing (VCT). Employees are encouraged to test with their spouses and children in order to strengthen prevention at the family level, and access care and support when required.
We have a total of 27 employees living with HIV/AIDS and they are all on anti-retroviral treatment (ARVS) and are working diligently for the company.
Our management fully supports VCT by way of active participation in VCT campaigns and also through advocacy and logistical support. Company skills and infrastructure are used for multi-stakeholder initiatives to increase HIV/Aids awareness in the wider community.
Our partnership with USAID and other local health institutions has greatly created awareness of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic among our employees and the supply chains.

• In order to ensure we continuously monitor the knowledge, attitudes and practices of our employees in relation to HIV/AIDS, we regularly conduct KAP (Knowledge, Attitude and Practice) surveys; using the results to close any gaps.
• The company carried out the last KAP survey in 2011 and the findings were disseminated to all employees. The key findings and action points are reviewed on an annual basis through the peer educator’s platform. A KAP survey tool for 2012 was developed and the survey was done in September.

  • Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) is the pillar of the Nile Breweries Limited HIV /AIDS programme. Our model for VCT is varied and tailored-made to suit different client groups. The on-site program, targeting all employees in the brewery, including contract workers—is the oldest model. It is also the most utilised. In F12 91.5% employees and 47%
  • Spouses participated in VCT. The other model is home based counselling and testing, (HBCT) which promotes family testing. This has enabled us to improve access to testing at a family level and encourage couple testing. The best success story for NBL was the HBCT for small scale farmers in Katwakwi, which resulted in 5,000 tests.
  • Health fairs in the community are another model we use to provide mass VCT to the communities within which we operate. Drama based approaches are used to create awareness on HIV/AIDS among the people, and thereafter those willing are counselled and tested.
  • We have widely used this model among small scale farmers and bar workers. The model has resulted in over 10,000 tests.

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