Sustainability might not be the first thing you think of when thinking of beer. However, it’s hard to escape this ever important issue and the world of brewing has it’s part to play in making the world we live in more sustainable. This latest article will cover what sustainability is, what brewers can do to help and why it is becoming increasingly trendy to do so.
Sustainability is roughly defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. At first, you might think of the environment but sustainability in fact covers societal and economical issues as well.
When considering the impact of a product, you must consider the whole life cycle. That includes material extraction, manufacturing, distribution, usage, disposal and everything else in between. This is a lot to think about but, by taking little steps and applying some thought, you can reduce the impact your brewery has on the environment.
How Breweries Can Become More Sustainable
Brewers know from their energy bills, it isn’t always the most efficient process with energy required to heat and cool the product. Left at the end of the process is spent grain and hops. But what can be done? Buying local small-scale hops and grains is a start to reducing your impact through reducing food miles and organising spent grain to be delivered as high quality feed to livestock are both cheap initiatives that can have big impacts, if adopted industry wide.
Packaging is another area worth considering. Aluminium may be recyclable but it’s initial extraction is emission intensive. Therefore, considering recycled aluminium or glass is an easy and simple way to reduce a breweries carbon footprint. The consumer is becoming increasingly aware of their environmental impact and it simply isn’t enough for products to be recyclable. Some 32% of consumers highly engage with adopting a more sustainable lifestyle, a huge part of the market share. Opportunity exists for products with sustainable credentials to stand out more in a competitive market.
An initial step companies often take is sustainability reporting, this acts as a method to quantify the emissions and other measurables, alongside how the company plans to tackle sustainability going forward. This should not be used as just a tool to look good but rather as a genuine effort to reduce the environmental impact of an organisation. Often, the latter is a key motivator for many companies.
It’s clear there is no one size fits all to solving sustainability in the industry but through progressive steps across the sector, the impact on the planet can be reduced whilst maintaining focus on producing great quality beer. We hope you enjoyed this article and welcome you to leave your thoughts and comments below. If you have any questions about sustainability in the brewing industry, contact our friendly team.