At Heineken Ireland, our focus is on forming partnerships that align with our sustainability strategy, Brewing a Better World, to create community investments that make a difference to the environments in which we work and live.
In 2017, a seed of an idea was sown which blossomed into a three-year partnership with GIY (Grow it Yourself), who provided the food-growing expertise and HEINEKEN Ireland supplying the people power to support urban growing programmes throughout Ireland.
Over a period of three years a ‘Grow Tribe’ of staff volunteers and GIY experts teamed up with selected community groups to ‘green up’ neglected and disused urban community spaces, positively impacting these communities and also enabling HEINEKEN Ireland employees to connect with community groups where they live and work.
Under HEINEKEN’s “Growing with Our Communities” sustainability pillar, the initiative is “rooted” internally with HEINEKEN Ireland employees and has helped communities throughout Ireland connect with each other and also the land and nature around them.
Over the course of the 3 years, our teams throughout Ireland have given over 1,300 hours to successfully deliver 12 projects to support local community groups (e.g. Blackpool Plaza in Cork and St Micheal’s in Dublin) and Social Enterprise Centres (e.g. Field of Dreams, Cork and Walk in Dublin).
Each community group was awarded a ‘Star Garden’, which consisted of a bespoke garden design plan for the creation of a functional growing space; planting and growing expertise; a financial contribution towards materials; and people power from the HEINEKEN Grow Tribe to bring the growing spaces to fruition.
In addition, an innovative Skills Sharing workshop was delivered where expertise from across the business was brought together to share knowledge and experience in the area of communications, digital and commercialisation that could really help the budding social enterprises flourish.
In 2019, there was an added focus on biodiversity and a focus on directly impacting employees with a Biodiversity Garden created at HEINEKEN Ireland’s headquarters in Cork. We also undertook a tree planting programme to offset emissions from our company conference and gift each employee their own tree.
HEINEKEN’s core value – ‘respect for people and planet’ – has been at the heart of all the activities during the three year partnership with HEINEKEN Ireland and GIY. Not only has there been a positive affect on community groups, it has also encouraged and enabled HEINEKEN Ireland employees to connect with nature and communities where they live and work while GIY’s green-fingered influence has inspired and supported HEINEKEN Ireland staff to start growing their own food.
This has been delivered through the creation, funding and delivery of 12 star gardens and hosting knowledge sharing and skills workshops both internally and with key community groups. The work with these external partners inspired HEINEKEN Ireland to create their own urban green space with a Biodiversity garden at its brewery HQ in Cork city and go on to sign up to the All-Ireland Pollinator Programme … there is no doubt that our focus on Bio-Diversity will lead us to even greener opportunities!
Heineken provided €345,690 in cash donations; €122,350 was contributed through in-kind donations and €16,385 was raised through employee fundraising. Employees also volunteered 608 hours to local groups and projects during the year.