Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Labatt Brewing Company Limited was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018) :
- Labatt Breweries head office employees work in the renovated historic Terminal Building in the centre of Queen's Quay on Toronto's waterfront -- designed by renowned architect Eberhand Zeidler, the office features hotel spaces for visiting employees, a beer training facility and a 20,000 square foot John Labatt Hall, with table hockey, dart boards, multiple big screen televisions, various board games and gaming consoles and Muskoka chairs overlooking Lake Ontario
- Labatt Breweries supports employees who are new mothers with maternity top-up payments (to 75% of salary for up to 17 weeks) and the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence -- the company also offers a subsidy for IVF of up to $15,000 for employees who want to start a family
- Along with a number of responsible drinking awareness initiatives, Labatt Breweries recently launched a new Better Together initiative to provide generous grants for individuals and families across Canada -- grants range from $200 to $4,000 and help provide essentials for those living in need, from food and clothing to access to paramedical services
Labatt brews a culture of innovation for its people
Jessica Sinclair has been with Labatt Breweries of Canada since 2015 and feels she has already made a difference. Very soon after joining the company, she played a key role in developing a new product that's now being sold in western Canada.
Sinclair, currently a Territory Manager in Toronto, attributes her early success to the company's culture of innovation.
"It's at the heart of everything we do at Labatt," she says. "Innovation is encouraged -- for all employees, no matter where in the company we work. We're given resources and support to come up with new, better ways of doing things.
"My personal experience is rooted in product. Early on I was part of a team of eight people, all right out of school, who were presented with a problem," says Sinclair, who was involved in a management trainee program at the time, working on a project to build a new brand. "Labatt is always looking to reach new consumers and new occasions, and we didn't have a product to meet the needs of a certain group of customers.
"After a lot of work and late nights we came up with a solution. Our idea was so strong it was put on the market. We worked with a brewing team to come up with the right product and a marketing team on packaging and promotion, and also with finance and logistics on how to offer it to consumers.
"The product is called Vescent. It's refreshing and health-conscious, with a light lemon cucumber flavour and low alcohol and calorie content. It was launched recently in B.C. and Alberta as a pilot project and it's doing well.
"This was an exciting lesson for me in how Labatt values innovation and encourages its people," says Sinclair. "Every day, every challenge we're given is a real-market problem."
Labatt, based in London, Ont., where it was founded 170 years ago, is now part of the Anheuser-Busch InBev brewing and beverage company with global headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. The drive for innovation is ingrained in the corporate culture and comes from the very top, says Agostino De Gasperis, Labatt's Vice President, People.
He refers to the company's Ten Principles, which are found on the company's website and shared with other Anheuser-Busch InBev operations. One of the principles states: "We must select people who, with the right development, challenges and encouragement, can be better than ourselves. We will be judged by the quality of our teams."
"At Labatt we try to foster an environment where people can contribute to something important," De Gasperis says. "At the core we all want to belong to something bigger than ourselves. Innovation fits into all of this -- we need to find innovative ways to give our people the opportunity to succeed, whether they're new recruits or people who have been here for a while.
"We want to give them a feeling of belonging, a sense of ownership. We look for people who are very bright and motivated but also want to be part of something. We say to them, 'What if you owned your own business? How would you act? We want you to feel the company is yours.'"
Sinclair enjoys the informality of the office where she works in downtown Toronto. "The managers sit with everyone else," she says. "There are no walls. I can walk up to anyone, a vice president or whoever, to discuss ideas."
That's all part of the innovation process, says De Gasperis. "Our managers want our people to feel comfortable coming up with ideas and taking risks."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Labatt Brewing Company Limited was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018):
- Labatt Breweries manages a comprehensive internship program for university students across all departments which includes participation in "beer school", to learn how the company's products are made, individual development plans, access to a dedicated intern speaker series, the 10 Principles Challenge competition (which provides opportunities to interact and compete with interns throughout the North America Zone, coaching from senior executives, and an end-of-term project presentation to senior managers
- Labatt Breweries created an expansive 10-month Global Management Trainee Program for undergraduate students -- the program includes rotations through various business segments throughout North America, collaboration with innovation teams to "build a brand" beginning from design, production to launching a new beer prototype, access to senior leaders at Q&As and updates with the country president and global CEO
- Labatt Breweries maintains an active on-campus presence year-round through "Campus Ambassadors" who facilitate individual invitations to specific events such as rotational recruitment sessions, "Beer School", information on beer and food pairings as well as tastings, and a deep dive into environmental sustainability and Better World -- managers and senior leaders are also present at Labatt recruitment events to connect with students face-to-face
At Labatt, community involvement is part of the brew
A charitable spirit of giving back to the community has been part of the culture of Labatt Breweries of Canada since the earliest days of the 170-year-old company and continues to attract young employees well into the 21st century.
In 1859, just a few years after he'd established his brewery in London, Ont., John Kinder Labatt donated 1,000 pounds of flour to help his fellow citizens in the middle of a devastating economic recession. In 2013, Irina Shapiro left a job at a securities firm to join the Ontario sales team at Labatt's Toronto office because of what the company stood for in her community and the sense of pride she saw in Labatt employees.
"Everything about the company lines up with my sense of values. As a young employee coming in, you see how much can be done to help the community," says Shapiro, who is now Manager of Financial Planning in Labatt's commercial finance team.
"We're encouraged by our managers to step up and contribute to community projects. For example, I've been involved with the Yonge Street Mission and the Toronto Island cleanup following the flooding in the spring of 2017.
"And the company always listens when we come up with ideas," she continues. "A particular interest of mine is mental health. I was able to come forward with an idea that was very successful."
Shapiro and her team took part in CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health, a Canada-wide challenge to share one night to inspire hope for Canadians living with mental illness. Labatt matched the amount the team raised and between them they contributed $14,000 to Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
As part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, Labatt shares a corporate dream "to bring people together for a better world." Shapiro's project was an ideal fit with this philosophy, according to Agostino De Gasperis, Labatt's Vice President, People.
"Charitable giving and being part of the community are part of our better world dream," De Gasperis says. "More personally, everyone wants to belong to something bigger than themselves. This is fundamental for young people and how they see themselves, so it's a win-win. It's very special to see the camaraderie that develops when people get behind something like Irina's CAMH initiative."
In addition to supporting employee-led projects, Labatt has a number of corporate programs aimed at improving the community, such as Labatt Better Together, Labatt Disaster Relief Program and commitments to environmental and responsible drinking initiatives.
Labatt Better Together, created in 2016, provides basic essentials and support services to Canadian individuals and families in need, helping to reduce poverty in communities across the country.
Since 2013, through its Disaster Relief Program, Labatt has donated more than 350,000 cans of safe drinking water to communities in six provinces whose water supply was affected by a significant disaster, such as the Fort McMurray wildfire of 2016. The company packages and maintains a constant supply of fresh canned water and uses its distribution network to deliver the water to Canadians and emergency responders in need.
Along with other Anheuser-Busch InBev companies around the world, Labatt also sets aggressive targets for reducing the environmental impact of its operations by reducing water and energy consumption and diverting waste from landfills.
Meanwhile, the company works to encourage moderate drinking through a variety of resources, awareness campaigns and support programs, including Budweiser Good Sport, Labatt Family Talk About Drinking, Global Be(er) Responsible Day, and Partners for Safer Communities.
"It's all part of how we live and breathe, how we operate as a company," says De Gasperis, while Shapiro adds, "It's an important reason I like to work here -- the sense of accomplishment that comes from making an impact in the community."
John Kinder Labatt would approve.
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 18, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Labatt Brewing Company Limited was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2018):
- Labatt's Anheuser-Busch InBev parent company recently announced its commitment to sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 -- the impressive goal is to be realized though 75% to 85% purchases of green energy with the balance achieved through onsite power generation -- the target is expected to reduce the company's overall carbon footprint by 30%, which is the equivalent of removing half a million cars from the road
- As a major brewer and part-owner of the The Beer Store and Brewers Distributors Limited, Labatt Breweries helped develop one of the earliest and most successful recycling and reuse programs in Canada, with models replicated by both public and private sector entities -- The Beer Store is also one of the very few retail chains to take back all the packaging it sells, and boasts a 99% recycling rate for industry standard bottles, which are reused an average of 15 times before being recycled into new beer bottles
Employees lead environmental innovation at Labatt
Most of the innovations that enable Labatt Breweries of Canada to meet its ambitious environmental goals, both within its breweries and offices and in the wider community, come from employees.
Though an initiative known as the Ideas Process, which was itself developed by employees almost 20 years ago, everyone who works at Labatt is empowered to suggest improvements that will have a measurable impact on the way their jobs are done.
"We look for large- and small-scale initiatives. Even the smallest and simplest ideas are important. They all add up," says Holly Hurley, Environmental Health and Safety Manager for Labatt's brewery in London, Ont., where the company was founded 170 years ago.
"Tens of thousands of ideas have been generated by this program. It isn't limited to environmental ideas, but many environmental ideas have come from it," adds Scott Durnin, Brewmaster at the London brewery. For example, he cites numerous suggestions from the bottle-washing and powerhouse departments that have brought about more efficient ways of using water, electricity and steam. The results of these innovations are carefully measured and monitored to ensure progress is being made.
Through efforts such as these across its six breweries in Canada, Labatt has reduced water usage by 46 per cent since 2006 and cut total energy consumption by 14 per cent between 2011 and 2016.
The company has also been highly successful in its recycling initiatives, with 99 per cent of its waste now diverted from landfills. Labatt's waste streams include cardboard and byproducts of yeast and grains, which are collected and shipped to companies that reuse them for other products. As well, the alcohol removed from Budweiser Prohibition Brew is repurposed and diverted from the waste stream.
Other innovations include reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transportation through greater use of rail shipments and trucks powered by alternative fuels, and by collaborative shipping to eliminate "empty" miles.
"As a global company we're very committed to reducing energy and utility consumption," says Durnin. Labatt is part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, a multinational brewing and beverage company, which has the stated goal of bringing people together for a better world. It recently announced a commitment to obtain 100 per cent of its purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
Each Labatt brewery has an Environmental Committee, with representatives from all departments who meet monthly to share status updates, and at two- to three-day Kaizen events on continuous improvement, employees work together to implement ideas that lead to new standard operating procedures and best practices that are replicated across Canada, North America and globally.
In addition to these many internal environmental initiatives, Labatt employees engage with other organizations to share best practices, and work to improve their local communities.
"One thing I'm most proud of is World Environment Day," says Hurley. "We team up with the City of London and benchmark ourselves against other organizations in the area so we can encourage each other. We report our results for environmental Key Performance Indicators, which makes us accountable. This helps us help others and also enables us to see how they do things.
"At all our breweries we participate in annual cleanups," Hurley adds. "For example, here in London we're in our 18th year with the Thames River cleanup. Our people bring their families and kids to help clean up the river to demonstrate their commitment to the environment and the community. And we work with ReForest London to help meet its goal of planting one million trees and shrubs for a better environment and better health in the city."
Labatt also holds open house events to show how it leads by example and to educate and motivate other companies and the public, all towards the long-term goal of making the world a better place.