Sustainable development
report 2018-2020


It was early in our sustainability reporting journey (2013-2014) when tax transparency has been identified as a highly relevant topic. There was no specific GRI Standard we could rely on at that time, yet our reporting practice was fully aligned with the requirements of a GRI Standard that entered into force in January 2021. It is natural for all our stakeholders (see details in the Defining the content of this report section) to show interest into our tax transparency: central and local authorities need to fund essential public services, therefore corporate tax is instrumental for the economic stability; our own employees and those of our suppliers need to have equal access to public services (such education, health, pension schemes, utilities, infrastructure); NGOs are keen to cooperate with a responsible, reliable partner; the consumer community is more alert than ever to responsible business practices; last but not least, we want to make any present and future employee proud of working for an accountable company. The only viable solution for a truly sustainable development of our entire ecosystem is to be extremely diligent and exceptionally transparent on tax matters. Taxation is also essential for the implementation of so many ambitious projects approved under the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, not to mention other EU initiatives such as the Digital Single Market, the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework or the Circular Economy.


In this context, it is noteworthy that Romania has joined the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in 2013.

Having a wide impact on Romanian economy and society, and being an important vehicle in the market development, our disbursements to Romanian budget include: alcohol taxes, excise duties, corporate tax, or income taxes relating to our workforce. Our tax policies are governed by a set of specific guidelines and procedures. They detail the elements of strategy, policy and operations pertaining to taxation, and include management procedures. It is mandatory for Ursus Breweries and all our employees to comply with these procedures. Our tax strategy sets the grounds for managing the risks derived from company business operations in a healthy manner, meeting in full all requirements (including legislative compliance and reporting obligations), thoroughly documenting all tax processes, in addition to identifying and implementing the appropriate controls. We fulfil our global tax obligations in full compliance with all local and international tax laws and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines. We fully comply with the tax laws in Romania (i.e., the Fiscal Code), and undertake effective planning for the conduct of the business activity. We operate under a comprehensive Tax Code of Conduct. Its main purpose is to ensure appropriate conduct of tax affairs with regard to tax management and tax transparency, while balancing the interests of our various stakeholders.

The approach to tax is embedded in every aspect within the organization through different mechanisms such as: the tax policies (e.g., Excise Manual and Environmental Policy), training and guidance provided to relevant employees on the link between tax strategy, business strategy, and sustainable development. Also, the company has succession-planning for positions within the organization that are responsible for tax and participates (through its representatives) in tax transparency initiatives or representative associations that seek to develop best practice around disclosures on tax or educate stakeholders on tax-related issues.

The Tax Code of Conduct sets out the fundamental thinking of Ursus Breweries towards the conduct of tax affairs, and its implementation is assured by a set of guidelines and procedures that apply to our company and its employees: policies, goals and targets, responsibilities, resources, grievance mechanism (e.g., Whistle-Blower Scheme), and also specific forums and
projects that address Tax matters.

The Tax Code of Conduct is laid down and managed by the Tax Team, that is supervised by Finance Vice President who is also a member of Ursus Executive Committee. Day-to-day work is assigned to the Senior Tax Manager and in-house tax specialists.

The Senior Tax Manager reports directly to the Finance Vice-President. Advisory and technical tax support is provided as appropriate by major tax and legal companies, and other small firms. The Tax Code of Conduct is constantly reviewed and revised in accordance with either the improvements at the Group level and/or in line with changes in local tax legislation.

There are specific Committees and other forums that evaluate the management approach (e.g. Sustainability Task Force). Also, there is an annual external audit process that ensures the correctness and effectiveness of the management approach with regards to Tax.

As mentioned above, we have in place mechanisms for reporting concerns about unethical or unlawful behaviour and the organization’s integrity in relation to tax, and the follow the principles of Whistle blowing scheme. This scheme has been set up to encourage early detection of risks associated with the corporate activities of the Ursus Breweries and prevent risks from developing into serious problems.

Where the matter involves a breach or potential breach of the relevant laws and regulations or stipulations of the Ursus Breweries Code of Conduct, and where the matter cannot be resolved satisfactorily by the conventional organizational structure, the whistle-blower is encouraged to approach contacts either inside or outside the company. Members of the Internal Audit & Executive Committee, as well as the Head of Legal Affairs Department of Ursus Breweries are the internal focal points, while an outside attorney serves as the external liaison. Anonymity is assured for all whistle-blower reports. A report can be submitted via letter, in-person and email, and can be sent 24/7.

All notifications are thoroughly investigated by Ursus Breweries with the cooperation of relevant parties. If any issue is identified, it is dealt with as appropriate, then the whistleblower is informed of the outcome.

Ursus Breweries Internal Reporting System Policies guarantee confidentiality and stipulate that no person shall suffer detrimental treatment as a result of submitting a complaint. We have regular engagements with tax authorities that are not always characterized by convergence. However, we actively seek opportunities for dialogue and endeavours to resolve divergent opinions.

One example is the double-taxation; when such issues arise, we seek to cooperate with tax authorities and address them.We are part of a series of initiatives and members in a number of organizations (details in the Leadership section), all platforms for an open and transparent dialogue with the institutions with attributions in many fields, tax included.

Relevant for this topic is our presence in specific Working Groups cooperating with Romanian authorities (Parliament, Government, Presidency, County Councils & City Halls/ Mayors), industries’ associations (Brewers of Romania, AmCham, Concordia, FIC etc.), other stakeholders (e.g. NGOs, consumers’ groups / associations, key business partners, international organizations’ offices – EU Commission, World Bank etc.), all interested in maintaining or improving the regulatory framework required for the accomplishment of our Licence to Trade (LTT) objectives – that is, our licence to operate.

In addition to other relevant KPIs (such as number of employees or sales) that have been included under the About our company -> Who we are section of this report, we are presenting additional data to complete the overview on tax transparency as a topic material for this report.






We consider that Ursus Breweries could not become the expression of our vision – which is to be the most admired company, helping create a better Romania, unless we conduct our business responsibly and in accordance with the highest legal and ethical standard. In addition to being diligent and transparent on tax issues, we also understand to appreciate the trust of our stakeholders by fully complying with the national laws and public regulations, company regulations and other voluntary rules of conduct.

We have zero-tolerance to bribery and corruption. Our transparency framework and substantial information on anti-corruption policies, including the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and the Anti-Bribery Policy, which supplements it, are available to all our  staff via the internal platform.




Our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics derives from Asahi Group Code of Conduct, established in January 2019 as a means of achieving Group’s philosophy across the entire organisation. The Anti-bribery Policy is based on the relevant principles set up at Group level. Through this policy we aim to prevent employees to be involved in any way in the payment of bribes or kickbacks, whether in the public or commercial sector. Employees must understand and comply with applicable anticorruption legislation.

These are supported by the whistle-blowing policy, which is constantly communicated within the organization, giving all employees the opportunity to make confidential disclosures on suspected impropriety or wrongdoing. The contact information our employees can use is displayed in all our locations.


Additionally, we have Gifts and Entertainment Policy which sets boundaries and provides guidance for employees about giving or receiving gifts or entertainment to/from third parties connected with their business work.

We understand that our responsibility regarding ethics and integrity does not discontinue at the company’s border. As such, we elaborated and apply policies that guide our relationships with all suppliers beyond the commercial aspects.

The Anti-bribery Policy for suppliers applies to all suppliers of URSUS Breweries or its subsidiaries and sets out the minimum standards to which they must adhere at all times.

It defines what bribery is and spells out all relevant situations that the supplier should not engage into related to this topic, including what to do if becomes aware of any actual or suspected breach of the policy and the contact information.

The Code of Conduct for suppliers12 also applies to all our suppliers and defines the minimum standards that these organisations are required to adhere to, and which are not negotiable. Respect for human rights and labour standards, and of the freedom of association; prohibition of forced and compulsory labour, including child labour; intolerance of discrimination; promotion of safe and fair labour conditions are some of the aspects covered by this policy. Both these documents are communicated to all suppliers when signing the supplier agreement; the Code of Ethics is also attached to Distributors’ agreements.

We are committed to respecting internationally recognised human rights as defined by the International Bill of Human Rights and the principles laid out in the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and we expect our suppliers to embrace these international standards as well.

We also encourage them to promote these standards and principles in their own supply chains.

Regarding the implementation of our transparency framework and related documents within the organisation, the complete package of governance policies is communicated at all levels on an annual basis, including through specific training sessions.

All employees are required to sign a declaration of compliance with company’s ethics and integrity policies. This annual process implies the acknowledgment by all employees of the Code of Ethics, the Anti-Bribery Policy, the Gifts and Entertainment Policy, and the declaration of full compliance with all of these. These declarations provide the management with an overview regarding the degree of knowledge and understanding about the ethics requirements at the company level.

An additional layer for ensuring the adherence to these policies is ensured by the local Executive Committee that makes representations regarding the compliance with the ethics policies in the Letter of Representation, document signed twice a year. These representations refer to awareness programmes within the organization, and provide for disclosure of any ethics related incidents, investigation thereof and measures taken with respect to such investigations.

The body in charge with the investigation of ethics related incidents is the Ethics Committee. This convenes approximately every two months to discuss all whistleblowing reports received, no matter the channel.

The Ethics Committee decides upon investigations and on remedies, including disciplinary action, supplier contract termination, or any other legal remedies, where necessary.

Besides continuously monitoring of the reports that appear to be grounded following an investigation, we also analyse the data collected through the Ethics Compliance Survey, performed at Group level, to measure the effectiveness of our existing policies on ethics and integrity.


The UN Sustainable Development Goal no. 12 is about doing more (value) with less (resources). In our business, every effort towards a circular economy starts with the ingredients. This is the first step we consider before developing a product, designing the portfolio or packaging our products, a pace that is also necessary for understanding how to prevent and reduce the emissions or how the waste has to be managed. Ingredients and their quality are essential for our business.

When we look into this topic, we also need to take into account how the yields or the quality of raw materials could be affected by climate change. Further on we would introduce you into our policies that govern the production and the product safety.

By the end of this page, you will also understand the link between the quality of the products, our product portfolio, and our procurement practices, pressed to secure grains in the most sustainable possible way. From the reception of raw materials and their processing to packaging the finished product, all activities are aligned with our sustainability performance and meet the changing needs of all parties involved. Our management teams are in charge with ensuring all material and human resources required to develop, maintain and improve the Quality Management System implemented in full accordance with ISO9001:2015.


The QMS is aligned with additional policies, such as the Food Safety or the Environmental, Health and Occupational Safety System.

Some of the procedures and measures aimed at translating the QMS into practice are:

  • detailed description of the processes and key responsibilities
  • communicating our quality policy to all our employees
  • objective evaluation of the QMS
  • constant training, education and performance evaluation of our employees on matters related to quality management
  • ensuring full compliance with the legislation and regulations related to quality, applicable in Romania and the European Union
  • a transparent and constructive approach in our interactions with suppliers, authorities and other interested parties
  • building a partnership with our suppliers
  • ensuring that the product quality and safety has a natural flow downstream, throughout the food chain to consumers

We are committed to producing high quality products, safe for consumption. In demonstrating our commitment, we operate with an internationally renowned food management system that enhances product safety: our beers comply with the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s recommended code of practice of the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and the Hazard Analysis and the Critical Control Point (HACCP) aligned with ISO22000:2018 and the Technical Specification ISO/TS 22002-1 requirements.

The overall principles, procedures and practices listed above also apply in the case of the food management system, yet particular consideration is given to the specifics (i.e., manufacturing practices, food safety risks, food safety requirements, hygiene).

All our employees play a fundamental role in achieving our commitments by taking ownership of food safety programme. The Quality and Food Safety Management Systems are evaluated on yearly basis by an external ISO certification body; no nonconformities were raised over the reporting period. The management systems are also audited internally every year, according to our Internal Audit Procedure.

In addition, our breweries are audited on regular basis according to Asahi’s Group Production Risk Management audit. The performance is monitored on quarterly basis, while action plans are in place to ensure the full compliance.



Traceability is another important part of our Quality and Food Safety Management System, giving us the possibility of a fast feedback in case of any quality complaint or quality accident (an open recall caused by a food safety problem of the product). Our goal is to maintain the performance of having zero nonconformities related to traceability, raised by external auditors or by authorities.

To meet this goal, all our suppliers are technically accredited, according to our Group standard methodology, which includes the assessment of aspects related to process, quality and food safety management, raw materials purchasing and storage, finished goods delivery.

We expect and require our suppliers to abide by the same strict rules that we apply, so that the raw materials and other materials we purchase from them meet our quality standards.

In order to ensure that our products preserve the same quality and food safety with which they were delivered from the breweries, our distributors are informed and required to apply the necessary rules and applicable law requirements in terms of beer storage and delivery. Regular audits are performed by the technical team in order to assess the compliance.

Furthermore, the customers (bars, restaurants, key accounts) are trained on how to store and serve the beer in order to preserve its quality, and are audited to assess the compliance.

We are ready to respond to any quality issue whenever one may occur. In any such unfortunate incident, we take immediate measures to identify the cause and quickly and properly solve it. Within our breweries, we share the expertise gained from such actions, and leverage it to prevent the recurrence and lead towards continuing quality improvement All necessary financial resources are ensured by company management, through annual budgeting exercises. The competent human resources are ensured by running complex training and awareness programs developed by the company.

As a company with a strong focus on customer needs, our grievance mechanism is developed in such a manner to provide our customers fast and professional feedbacks to their claims. As a strong proof of our client orientation, part of our operations “9000” vision for 2030 (9000 = 9 mil. Hl packaged, 0 work accidents, 0 quality claims, 0 CO2 emissions) is reducing the quality claims to zero.



A study by the Brewers of Europe indicates that Romania was among the top 10 beer producers in Europe (with 16.6 million hl in 2018), and ranked 5th in terms of beer consumption (with 85 l per capita in 2018). The most significant part of the beer produced in Romania was consumed within the country, exports being almost negligeable. The same study indicates that the sector created 5,973 direct jobs and was responsible for 133.44 million of euro in excise duties (Romania, 2018).

The total investment in upgrading all beer production facilities in Romania exceeds 1.5 billion euro, shows the Brewers of Romania Association.

A substantial percentage of this investment was directed towards technology aimed at better management of water consumption, wastewater treatment, energy efficiency, renewable energy and cutting CO2 emissions.


Although the beer industry is responsible for the largest quota of reusable packaging voluntarily placed on the market, the same source admits that only 20% of the overall packaging is reusable.

Nevertheless, our packaging waste footprint is managed to ensure that our environment commitments and legal requirements are observed, while being fully compliant with Romania’s legislation in the field.

It is as natural as the ingredients we use in our products to manifest both a high interest and willingness to manage wisely and reduce as much as possible our negative impacts, while maximizing the positive ones.

Throughout this report we have extensively presented how we embarked in this journey, what goals we have, how we measure the performance and the progress we made.

The following chapters are abundant in relevant information, yet we describe here the data that documents why market presence is a material topic.
Our considerable number of employees has an impact on the local communities surrounding our breweries.

Wages are important for our workers, for their families, and for the ecosystems where they live and relax. Our employees and workers are not compensated based on wages subject to minimum wage rules.

To ensure that the wages contribute to the employee wellbeing, we have an internal reward policy that includes annual salary revisions and internal promotions. Some of the services and/or activities are run through third parties: private sector high quality medical services, wellbeing workshops, vacation vouchers, investigations refund and glasses lenses. Please see the Employees chapter of this report for in-depth information.


Described in the How we operate section , our product portfolio is quite dynamic, innovative and challenging as it needs to incorporate new trends that generate interest and meet always higher consumer expectations. For instance, we are considering initiatives to increase the share of non-alcoholic products in our portfolio (in addition to the products already launched in 2019-2020 such as Timișoreana non-alcoholic, Ursus Cooler- Grapefruit or Cherry).

We are keen to deliver the highest quality products to our consumers with deep care for the environment. Our policies and procedures

ensure a quality stream and consumer care focus across departments, building on consumer feedback (either from market research or direct interactions) and reviewing the annual progress against our strategy. Please see the Environment and the Responsibility chapters of this report for additional information.

Equally important, our sustainable development strategy is fully aligned with our vision to build a better Romania for future generations. Research and innovation are critical to creating new value and delivering best experiences to our customers. At the Asahi Group, this area is based on the following pillars: product development (where we employ unique technologies), fundamental technologies (where we look into quality assurance the development of production technologies or delivering high quality and safer products), and search for new ingredients (where we look into maximizing the potential of functional microorganisms and expand their uses).

In Romania, we have a New Product Development (NPD) strategy and an annual NPD projects agenda that are aimed at consolidating our product portfolio and ensuring it would meet the future market conditions in terms of upcoming consumer trends, competitiveness and scarcity of resources (materials and human). The NPD strategy is integrating our Legacy 2030 agenda from a multi-dimensional perspective: consumers (preferences for diversity and wellbeing) and product impact on the environment (use of resources and waste generated).



  • qualitative products means products fit to the market, ensuring legal requirements and consumers safety, with a zero complaint target (no waste, resources efficiently reach the target market)
  • special focus on high value/ premium products (efficient use of resources, focusing rather on quality, not quantity)
  • developing the non-alcoholic beverages portfolio and share (offering both diversity and responsible consumption)
  • reducing sugars in F(N)ABs products with keeping good savoury balance
  • attention to environment impact (efficient use of resources translated into less waste, no matter the types of beer we produce, process design and packaging materials).


Each new recipe / new product is jointly developed by our product development and brewing & packaging teams, with the support of our specialists in legal, tax and corporate affairs.

A due diligence assessment is done along product development for the ingredients, production process, packaging materials, and also for product concept, labeling, claims, and visuals (in terms of legal compliance, adherence to internal procedures and corporative responsibility).

As the ultimate goal is the consumer safety, we invest significant resources in ensuring that product innovations are in line with global safety and quality standards while they follow the consumption trends.

Product sustainability (minimum volumes, production cost, impact on existing process and products, impact in brewery efficiency and capacity) is an essential part of the multi-functional due diligence assessment performed for each product.


Apart of the commercial benefits that a new product brings to our product portfolio, it also impacts the existing operations: the production lines need to integrate the new products, equipment/ technology installed in the breweries, usage and availability of ingredients (water, malt, hops etc), utilities (energy – electrical, heat, cold; water), waste generated (organic, anorganic) and effluent treatment needs, availability and expertise of human resources in order to integrate the new product.

All the above are considered when assessing and deciding on the implementation of any new product. Nevertheless, as we produce alcoholic beverages, we need special licenses to operate.

They vary from tax-related (i.e., excise), quality-related (i.e. quality of ingredients, final product, process) and impacts on consumers (i.e. safety).


The NPD includes several evaluation and approval stages, as well as post-launch assessments. As a driver to continuous improvement, the lessons-learned are integrated into the NPD strategy and considered for future projects.

Lastly, working tools are in place for quick and consistent evaluation criteria and supporting objective, factual decision making. To ensure our efforts can be applied to business and to deliver high quality and safe products to our customers, we constantly develop the technical expertise of our NPD teams, which is further combined with the experience already existing in the Group or among the suppliers.


Supply-chains around the world have gained sustained importance in the last decades, mainly due to the globalisation, including the extension of trade and labour collaborations across continents. Their growing dimensions influence the significance of the effects resulted from their operations, be them positive or negative.

Following a study commissioned by the European Commission on due diligence requirements through the supply chain published in January 2020, the subsequent findings indicate that:

  • a bit over one third of business respondents reported that they undertake due diligence that takes into account all human rights and environmental impacts
  • another third of respondents indicated that they undertake due diligence limited to certain areas.
  • among those that conduct due diligence processes, the majority include only first tier suppliers.

Although the expansion of international supply-chains contributes to macroeconomic benefits, they also cause negative impacts, including violations of human and labour rights. This aspect draws increased attention on how these supply-chains function and what are their impacts not only economically, but also social (i.e., the people involved in or affected by these impacts) and environment impacts.

In the coming years, the focus on supply chains will only increase. At present, there is an EU decision to put forward specific legislation regarding due diligence of ompanies along the supply chains, expected to be issued late October 2021. This will require increased transparency from the business entities with regard to their operation both within the organisation as such, and across the entire supply chain.

The emphasis we put regarding our responsibility on the impacts we directly cause or contribute to within our supply chain is based on the policy framework elaborated at the Group level described earlier in this chapter (see the Ethics & Integrity section).

Regarding the respect for human rights in the supply chain, we guide our actions observing the Asahi Group Human Rights Principles as a fundament to all our operations. These Principles apply to all officers and employees of each Asahi Group company. They also apply to our suppliers.

The overall responsibility of complying with our human rights commitments stands with the Board of Directors of Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd. As of 2017, Asahi Europe & International (AEI) issues an annual Anti-Slavery and Anti-Human Trafficking Statement which spells out the commitments, the policy framework, and the roles and responsibilities that derive from these commitments and policies.

It also reflects on the progress registered at this level with regarding to the commitment to human rights, including labour rights and the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking. The latest one was issued at the end of 2020. Point 6 of the Group Code of Conduct focuses on fostering fair and healthy relationships with the business partners.

This implies the overall commitments towards:

  1. healthy business relationships by placing safety and trust of customers and consumers as outmost priority;
  2. fair business relationships by making sure to always follow the laws and regulations concerning fair competition;
  3. prohibition of inappropriate entertainment of gifts and
  4. prevention and elimination of relationships with organised crime elements.

Ursus Breweries strives for building strong business relationships with responsible suppliers that share the same business principles and commitments towards sustainability, including respect for human and labour rights as we do.

Being compliant with our Etchics Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct is critical for qualifying as our supplier and we ensure this through our objective of having one hundred percent acceptance of these requirements from the suppliers’ side.

Verifications can be done by our Audit Department or a third party if we suspect a violation. Our contracts with suppliers give us the right to conduct an audit. In 2019 we ended collaboration with 3 contractors following their breach of the Ethics & Integrity Policy requirements.

Prior initiating any collaboration with a potential supplier, we provide the respective entity with our Policy for their information and action. Upon signing the contract, the new supplier is informed about our Ethics Policy and the Supplier Code of Conduct requirements, which become part of the contract they have to comply with.

Subsequent Purchase Orders and Terms & Conditions for Purchase make reference to the Ethics Policy.


Most of the 11 million farmers in the EU operate as small family businesses and they operate independently of each other. This is particularly valid in Romania, and it comes with significant risk in terms of constant supply, quality of ingredients and quantity.

Moreover, in such a fragmented set-up, climate change is just another burden on farmers, hence on our entire supply chain. To ensure a long-term high-quality supply of ingredients, we strive to source raw materials sustainably across Europe, and work closely with growers and all impacted partners to encourage the development and implementation of sustainable agricultural practices.

Quality hops are needed for good beer and the project “WATER FOR HOPS” was created to support our hops suppliers in Czech Republic and ensure the sustainability of their farming in the best quality and volume. The project includes brewers, hop growers, hydrologists, biologists, programmers and experts on new information technologies. It was based on installation of small meteostations in selected hop gardens, measuring precipitation, temperature and humidity. This project started in 2019, under the name “Smart Hopgarden”, with first 45 devices installed for 2020 growing season. In 2020 it has extended into 63 locations. In Italy, from which we purchase part of our raw materials, several programs like “Campus Peroni” bring together various stakeholder groups within the supply chain to share good practices.

“XFarm” is a technology solution using satellite images and various sensors (IG humidity temperature) to determine the current status of crop and enabling precisionfarming approach.

We leverage existing best practices, local partnerships with farmers, co-operatives and academia in this transition in a way that allows them to stay viable (we further build on this topic in the Responsibility chapter). To address key challenges for the agriculture sector in the supply of sutainable raw materials, in 2020 we have developed the Sustainable Procurement Principles that go beyond our responsible sourcing policies. Further refinement of priority areas will be done jointly with our suppliers. We want to ensure that safety, quality and a long-term focus with respect to the environment are values that our partnership is built on.


We also encourage and support our suppliers to embed sustainability in their operations. Some of the actions we are planning to take are related to the type of products we buy from them. For example, starting with 2021 we will only buy refrigerators with a certain energy efficiency class – lower limit is class D (lowering the impact of freon emissions). In 2019 we started the discussions for renewable energy purchase and reached 50% acquisition in 2020. Furthermore, we launched discussions with some of our suppliers in order for them to switch to green energy.



Procurement budget allocated to products and services purchased for all our activities from suppliers based in Romania:

2018 – 76%

2019 – 75%

2020 – 71%