A few weeks ago I told you about the MillerCoors Sustainability Report and some of worthwhile actions the beer giant is taking to be sustainable. SABMiller, the Miller half of MillerCoors, is choosing to make 10 areas a priority when it comes to sustainability and have outlined those 10 areas on their website.

Anyone can set priorities. It’s the follow-through that counts. SABMiller not only reports their priorities, they report the progress they are making on those priorities, and it looks like they are making some impressive progress in some areas.

Take water for example. They are “making more beer but using less water.” They intend to cut water usage by 25 percent by 2015. To do this, their goal is to average only 3.5 litres of water for every one litre of beer they produce. The industry average is five litres of water.

Are they on their way to hitting their goal? It looks as if they might be. In 2008, they used 4.6 litres of water for every one litre of beer, but this year, they’ve cut that down to 4.5 litres. It may seem like a small reduction, but when you consider that they produce about 30 percent of the beer consumed in the United States, that small reduction adds up to a huge savings in water.

Another area that measurable progress is being made in is packaging. They have set priorities to reduce the weight of their packaging, reuse bottles and encourage recycling.

How are they doing with that? In Colombia, they introduced “super returnable” bottles. The traditional returnable bottles were reusable up to 20 times. The new super returnables can be reused up to 40 times. They are also doing a trial with biodegradable shrink wrap in South Africa. Both of these efforts go beyond the traditional reduce, reuse, recycle.

As more and more companies are releasing sustainability reports, it’s good to see them not just set goals but show the progress that they have been making already. You can see all of the progress that SABMiller is making on their 10 priorities here.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

SABMiller's top 10 sustainable priorities
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