A. Le Coq’s Our values are based on sustainability, local presence, positivity and customer focus. Sustainable development is an important part of our strategy, and it is reflected in our daily operations. Responsible and sustainable business practices are essential to us throughout the value chain, from sourcing raw materials to the environmental and societal impact of our products, as well as the well-being of our employees.
Sustainability is part of our values, strategy and day-to-day operations. We work to improve sustainability in the beverage industry as a whole. We help our partners, customers and consumers to make sustainable choices.
Responsible and sustainable business practices are traditionally divided into three categories: environmental responsibility (E), social responsibility (S), and good governance (G). Based on A. Le Coq’s values, goals, scope of operations, stakeholder expectations, and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) topics, we have divided our principles of sustainable business into four areas:
- Sustainable value chain (E)
- Best place to work (S)
- Creating value for stakeholders (E, S)
- Consumers and products (E, S)
We respect and adhere to ethical business practices (G) at A. Le Coq, which we prioritize in all areas of our operations and partnerships.
Sustainable value chain
We work to continuously reduce our environmental footprint and to improve our resource efficiency. The transparency and traceability of purchases always come first when we make procurement decisions.
A. Le Coq’s sustainability footprint is determined throughout the supply chain, covering both its own operations and the entire value chain.
The beverage industry uses considerable amounts of raw materials and natural resources such as grains, energy, water, packaging materials, and others. Supply chain management and procurement methods have a significant impact on the environment, the climate and society.
Environmental responsibility is reflected in our resource efficiency: effective usage of raw materials, inventory, and energy, as well as recycling and optimization of transportation. We make consistent efforts to reduce our ecological footprint and be more environmentally friendly.
Reducing carbon footprint
The carbon dioxide emissions released into the environment during beverage production primarily stem from manufacturing operations and transportation. To reduce these emissions, we continuously enhance energy efficiency, explore new environmentally friendly solutions, and gradually increase the use of renewable energy sources.
- We have invested in the innovative Energy Track Energy Management System and ISO 50001
- As of the beginning of 2020, all our products are only produced with renewable energy
- In the beginning of 2021, we created our own solar farm for the logistics centre, which allows us to actually produce more renewable energy.
- We direct the energy from the flue gases of the boiler plant into heating the production buildings
- In 2022, we established a biogas plant, through which we produce biogas from our wastewater. This initiative significantly reduces our reliance on fossil fuels.
- We acquired the first fully electric truck in the Baltic region, which enables emission-free transportation of goods in the heart of Tallinn.
Sustainable water use
The production of beverages is a waterintensive industry. We seek to maintain the balance of the water ecosystem and reduce water consumption per litre produced.
To achieve this, we are implementing the following actions:
- We continuously invest in technologies that optimize the production process and reduce water consumption. In 2022, water consumption was 2,672 liters per liter of production.
- Alongside the biogas plant, we established our own wastewater treatment system in 2022, significantly reducing organic discharge into the Tartu city sewage system.
- We capture and redirect rainwater separately into a stormwater collector, thereby reducing the burden on the city’s water system.
We have joined Eesti Pandipakend and ETO (Eesti Taaskasutusorganisatsioon) to ensure that our plastic, aluminum, glass, and cardboard packaging is directed back into circulation. Additionally, 94% of the beverages produced into glass bottles in A. Le Coq are bottled into reused bottles. In 2021, we transitioned to lighter bottles in export markets, reducing the annual glass quantity by over 700 tons. This saves approximately the energy equivalent of 25 truckloads in transportation each year. We recycle 100% of the packaging waste generated on-site at the factory, including cardboard, plastic, aluminum, and glass.
We engage in a circular economy with agricultural and energy companies, where beer residues and yeast are recycled. The beer residues produced during the brewing process are repurposed as animal feed, while the yeast is used for biogas production.
Responsible supply chain entails the selection of responsible suppliers and ensuring transparency and traceability in our procurement processes.
We value adherence to responsible business practices and the ability to ensure the quality of raw materials for each supplier.
The Best Workplace
For A. Le Coq, employee well-being, personal development, and workplace safety are extremely important. We believe that through a carefully designed corporate culture and smart management, we can create a work environment that promotes equal treatment and provides the best conditions for work and personal growth. A. Le Coq currently employs over 370 full-time employees, and we strive to be an attractive workplace for both current and future employees. Therefore, we continuously work on developing our business and management culture to maintain a positive work atmosphere that supports employee performance and development.
We monitor the development of results through employee well-being surveys. Based on the survey results, we collaborate with employees to define common development goals and objectives within our respective areas to improve our work environment.
In A. Le Coq the work environment and its safety are very important. In addition to guidance and training, every employee has the ability to contribute to a safer work environment by using the WESEE app to report their observations and insights.
Creating Value for Stakeholders
Achieving a wider impact to promote sustainable development requires cooperation throughout the value chain. We want to engage in impactful cooperation and create value together with our stakeholders. The financial and social impacts of our operations are reflected in our operating environment through, for example, local presence and employment, promoting responsible drinking culture, and fulfilling our tax obligations.
Positive financial development of the company creates value for both our shareholders and society. As part of the Olvi Group, we are committed to long-term development, with a consistently strong balance sheet and operating results.
Between 2018 and 2022, A. Le Coq paid a total of 81 million euros in dividends, contributing 14.8 million euros in corporate income tax to the state.
Local presence and employment
We always prefer local partners whenever possible to reduce transportation footprint and indirectly contribute to local employment. We encourage our partners and suppliers to grow alongside us, valuing long-term reliable relationships.
A. Le Coq places great importance on close collaboration with the local community. We contribute to its vitality by supporting culture and sports. You can learn more about the major organizations we support here.
As the oldest beverage producer in Estonia, we cherish the local drinking culture and history. In 2022, we opened a unique museum-experience center called Õllemaailm (Beer World) at our brewery. Its purpose is to showcase the traditions, history, and technology of one of the world’s oldest beverages in a modern and immersive way that engages all the senses of the visitors.
As a responsible taxpayer, we contribute a significant amount back to society through taxes. Between 2018 and 2022, our company paid a total of 242 million euros in taxes to the state, including dividend taxes.
We actively participate in the activities of organizations and professional associations related to our operations. These include the Estonian Food Industry Association, Estonian Brewers Association, Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Estonian Taxpayers Association, Estonian Employers’ Confederation, and Rohetiiger. Through active engagement, we contribute to the continuous and responsible development of the food industry.
Consumers and Products
Ensuring product safety is essential in the drink industry. All of our products are prepared in accordance with strict requirements – as set forth in the applicable laws, rules and quality standards (quality management systems standard ISO 9001:2015, food safety management system HACCP).
To ensure the long-term success of our products, it is crucial to maintain their taste, high-quality ingredients, and manufacturing process. Product development that takes into account consumer preferences and expectations is our critical success factor and one of the foundations of our company’s success.
To support responsible alcohol consumption, we guide consumers to enjoy alcohol and other products in moderation. We engage in close collaboration with various national and international beverage industry associations and organizations on a daily basis to promote responsible product development that supports human well-being and moderate alcohol consumption (Eesti Õlleliit).
Annual activities for responsible consumption
As an alcohol producer, we take responsibility towards society by supporting initiatives that emphasize zero tolerance for alcohol consumption among minors, while driving, or during pregnancy. In our marketing activities and product labeling, we highlight the inappropriateness of consuming alcoholic beverages in the aforementioned circumstances.
Since 2016, we have supported the Sober Group Leader campaign initiated by Radio Kuku with our alcohol-free beer.
The Sober Group Leader acts as a sober driver for their friends during St. John’s Day celebrations and ensures that nobody gets behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. Through this partnership, we aim to bring broader attention and awareness to the society that alcohol consumption and driving do not go together.
Sustainable product development
A. Le Coq’s product portfolio includes more than 10 product categories. We strive every day to ensure that our product development is responsible and supports consumers’ lifestyles. As the largest beverage producer, we follow principles:
- we are constantly increasing the share of alcohol-free products in the alcohol categories;
- we are constantly increasing the share of alcohol-free products in the whole product range;
- we are constantly paying attention to reducing the amount of added sugar in our products. The aim is to reduce the share of added sugar in our product range by 15% between 2015-2025;
- we have undertaken to constantly develop products with healthy additional value and different functions (vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc.);
- the development of each new product is based on the principle of making it healthier: less alcohol, smaller quantities and less additives;
- we do not use azo dyes in our products;
- we have joined beer producers’ self-regulation, according to which we do not produce beer or long drinks that exceed 7 vol% or cider that exceeds 5.5 vol%.
Responsible consumer communication
We ensure that the marketing of our products is responsible. We follow several national and international responsible food and soft drink marketing principles. We ensure that our advertising is not in conflict with the ICC responsible marketing code or the self-regulation code of the Confederation of Food and Drink Industries of the EU and the Estonian Breweries Association. In addition to the prescribed guidelines and regulations, we apply self-regulation in our marketing activities, which may at times be even stricter than official restrictions. This way, we meet the expectations set for the drink industry and promote responsible marketing in our sector. All our alcoholic beverage packaging carries labeling indicating that they are not suitable for pregnant women, minors, or those planning to drive a vehicle.
Ethical Operating Practices
Honest and fair ways of working are an integral part of our values and business operations in all our market areas.
At A. Le Coq, we respect and adhere to ethical business practices, focusing on them in all our areas of operation and partnership relationships.
We strive to develop a reputation of honesty and reliability for A. Le Coq. Building strong relationships and maintaining transparency with all stakeholders we engage with is important to us. A. Le Coq complies with laws and regulations related to its operations but does not engage in politics. We promote fair and effective competition and adhere to applicable competition regulations.
In our business activities, we prioritize employee health and safety, treating our employees and partners with equality and respect. We respect international human rights and abide by them.
The foundation of our sustainable practices is the employee Code of Conduct. Our goal for 2023 is to ensure that 100% of our employees have undergone training on the Code of Conduct.
To ensure ethical operating principles through all of our operations and supply chain, we require our suppliers and partners to actively follow and sign Olvi group code of conduct.
Sustainability at Olvi Group
Responsibility is one of the key values across all Olvi Group companies. We strive to reduce the environmental footprint of our products and operations. Caring for the environment, employees, and society is ingrained in the culture of all Olvi Group companies.
We are committed to promoting the United Nations’ global sustainable development agenda through our sustainability program. The agenda’s goals for 2030 focus on improving the economic, social, and environmental situation.
During 2022–2023, we are participating in the UN Global Compact’s SDG Ambition Accelerator. In it, we focus on specifying the focus areas of our sustainable development goals.
For more information on Olvi Group’s responsibility efforts, please visit the Olvi Group website.