I recently attended the launch of Heineken Malaysia Berhad’s (HEINEKEN Malaysia) “HEINEKEN Cares 2022” programme at the Sungei Way Brewery. In order to help communities develop the capacity for long-term food security, the brewer is working with seven non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community partners. This shift from short-term food aid is being made as the situation in Malaysia enters a recovery phase rather than an emergency one during the multiple lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.
In order to help local communities in Malaysia establish and maintain their own sustainable food sources, HEINEKEN Malaysia committed to donating over 600,000 meals as part of their commitment. Along with this commitment, the brewer also afforded its partners a chance to highlight their philanthropic work in the community at a mini-exhibition at the launch event.
“At the height of the pandemic, we saw how vulnerable communities were in need of food aid. Responding to the call for help, we launched HEINEKEN Cares in 2021, a social impact programme to connect our employee’s well-being at work with a purpose to support local communities, giving them the opportunity to participate in meaningful CSR initiatives. Together, our One Strong Winning Team, alongside our NGO and community partners, helped create a positive impact in our local communities.”Roland Bala, Managing Director of HEINEKEN Malaysia
In 2021, HEINEKEN Cares enjoyed tremendous success. The brewer pledged to donate one meal to a person in need for every 1,000 steps a HEINEKEN Malaysia employee took. In six months, the programme provided 150,000 meals to at-risk populations all around the country. When there were floods in December 2021, HEINEKEN Cares increased this by providing 100,000 more meals and care packages for the impacted communities. As a result, in 2021, the programme distributed a total of 250,000 meals.
HEINEKEN Cares 2022 went a step further and presented a fresh vision for changing lives by enhancing social sustainability through food security. The initiative raised its 2022 objective and urged its employees to step up and accumulate 200 million steps from November 2022 to March 2023, once again tying employee wellness to a social cause. In order to deliver more than 600,000 meals to underprivileged communities around Malaysia, HEINEKEN Cares has pledged to provide three meals for every 1,000 steps an employee takes this year.
The NGOs and community partners collaborating with HEINEKEN Cares 2022 include The Lost Food Project, Epic, and PWD Smart Farmability, whose projects are focused in supporting communities in Peninsular Malaysia, as well as Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia, Hopes Malaysia, Hope Place Kuching, and Kupikupifm, whose projects are supporting communities in Sabah and Sarawak.
“As part of our social sustainability commitment, we aim to make a positive impact on Malaysian communities. With HEINEKEN Cares, every step counts, and every meal matters. This year, we want to move beyond providing short-term relief to communities in need and take it a step further by empowering local communities to start and maintain a sustainable food supply.”Renuka Indrarajah, HEINEKEN Malaysia’s Corporate Affairs and Legal Director
“By joining forces with HEINEKEN Cares, our NGOs and community partners will be working on projects such as setting up small-scale community farms and satellite aquaponic systems, establishing and leveraging on existing alternative water systems to support these community farms, as well as distributing food provisions to those in need,” Renuka added.
At the mini-exhibition, seven NGOs and community partners showcased their work alongside HEINEKEN Malaysia in building sustainable food sources throughout Malaysia:
- The Lost Food Project redistributes rescued surplus goods and other essential items to those in need in the Klang Valley and Johor Bahru area.
- Epic provides sustainable water supply and farming programmes to the communities in Kampung Orang Asli Gurney and Kampung Orang Asli Sg Kelubi in Hulu Selangor.
- PWD Smart Farmability builds aquaponic satellite farms which help provide fresh, organic and nutritious meat and vegetables for welfare centres across seven regions in Peninsular Malaysia,
- Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia provides alternative water systems and organic farms in Long Tanyit, Belaga, Sarawak and Kg Gana, Kota Marudu, Sabah, whilst building capacity to empower women in finding alternative sources of income.
- Hopes Malaysia improves the existing gravity water system for homes and farms in Kg. Pinolobuh, Kota Belud, Sabah, empowering families to sustainably farm for lasting food security
- Hope Place Kuching channels basic food aid and necessities to the underprivileged in Sarawak to improve their health and livelihood.
- Kupikupifm maintains alternative water systems for rural villages in Sabah and continues working to connects systems to encourage the adoption of community farming.
For the first time, HEINEKEN Malaysia employees have the opportunity to participate in volunteer initiatives in addition to giving their steps. Employees of HEINEKEN Malaysia are receiving first-hand on-ground experiences from NGOs and community partners as a result of the engagement, further motivating them to help those in need. Additionally, all staff members were urged to volunteer with the seven NGO partners’ numerous food security initiatives around Malaysia.
Further information on HEINEKEN Malaysia’s sustainability and initiatives can be found at HEINEKEN Malaysia’s official website: www.heinekenmalaysia.com or SPARK Foundation’s official website: sparkfoundation.com.my.
To help the vulnerable and those in need, contact the HEINEKEN Cares partners listed below:
- The Lost Food Project: www.thelostfoodproject.org
- Epic: epic.my
- PWD Smart Farmability: www.pwdsmartfarmability.com
- Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia: www.facebook.com/siromsiam
- Hopes Malaysia: www.hopesmalaysia.com
- Hope Place Kuching: hopeplace.org.my
- Kupikupifm: kupikupifm.my
Ed – I’m really happy whenever brands and corporations do their bit and give back to society instead of just reaping the profits from consumers. I was very moved during the presentation when it was revealed that Heineken Malaysia helped Malaysians in need during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 by distributing hundreds of thousands of meal packs to those in need, while also implementing longer-term projects to help those affected get back on their feet. I hope that more corporations will follow this magnificent example of simply caring for one another. Well done Heineken Malaysia!
Photo credits: Heineken Malaysia