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British brewers reduce carbon emissions by 42%

Total CO2 emissions from the UK’s brewing industry have fallen by 42% in the last decade (2008 to 2018) – a reduction of 202,952 tonnes – according to new research conducted by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

The research also found that the energy used to brew a pint of beer in the UK is now 20% less than it was in 2008. The water required to brew one hectolitre of beer has also reduced to an average of just 3.5 hectolitres.

Separate data from the Environment Agency acquired by the BBPA also found that UK breweries now recover and re-use 98% of their waste.[1]

The research, published in a new report by the BBPA, called ‘Brewing Green: A Greener Future for British Beer & Pubs’, comes as the UK’s brewing and pub sectors begin setting their next sustainability targets to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

100% of pub operators surveyed by the BBPA for the report stated that reducing food waste and improving energy efficiency was important or very important to them.

When it came to food waste, all pubs surveyed said they had trained staff on how to reduce food waste, with 86% now offering smaller portion sizes to customers to help further reduce waste.

When it came to improving energy efficiency, 83% of pub operators surveyed said they used insulated cellars in their pubs to reduce energy consumption. 71% also said they had smart meters installed in their pubs. 

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Britain’s brewing and pub sectors are amongst the oldest and most revered around the world. To maintain this reputation, we must brew our beer and serve our pub-goers in a sustainable way.

“From reducing emissions to lowering waste, Britain’s breweries and pubs are determined to be world leaders in environmental sustainability and meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

 Kristin Wolfe, Legal & Corporate Affairs Director at Molson Coors UK & Ireland, said: “As brewers we have an important role to play in helping to create a more sustainable future. We have always taken seriously our responsibility to brew sustainably and Our Beer Print 2025 sustainability targets are a testament to that commitment. We recently updated these targets with our new global packaging goals to reduce plastic in our packaging, which include our pledge in the UK to remove plastic from the packaging of our Carling and Coors Light brands by April 2021.

“We have to take a truly comprehensive and ambitious approach to sustainability. We’re committing to achieving science-based targets to lower absolute carbon emissions by 50% within our own operations and by 20% across our value chain by 2025, which are aggressive enough to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway and the Paris Climate Agreement.”

David Paterson, Corporate Affairs Director, HEINEKEN, said: “We embed sustainability across our entire value chain at HEINEKEN, from growing the barley and apples that go into our beers and ciders, to working with our customers and licensees to serve a great quality pint as sustainably as possible. We’re working hard to reduce CO2, water and single use plastics in our own business. However, we’re also passionate about helping our customers to improve their sustainability and that’s where SmartDispense is making a real impact for licensees. In five years, its saved 72m pints of water and 207 tonnes of CO2, whilst being a part of the original closed loop system – serving a pint from a keg into a glass.”

Paula Lindenberg, UK President, Budweiser Brewing Group UK & I, said: “Taking a sustainable approach to brewing is critical for the future of our sector. That’s why sustainability is not just a part of our business – it is our business.

“At Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, sustainability is embedded across everything we do; from our farmers to our packaging, supply chain and operations. At our breweries, our investment in green technology has helped us to reduce our energy usage by 10% over the past year, while water consumption is down 13% compared to five years ago.

“We strive to help make the world a better place and we understand that it starts with us.”

Dr Andy Wood, CEO of Adnams, said: “Sustainability has been in our DNA for decades and is ingrained in everything we do. As one of the most energy efficient breweries and distilleries in the UK, we enjoy learning from others and also sharing our sustainability stories to educate and inspire both ourselves and others to make changes. The trust of our customers, in what we do and how we do it, means so much. Our sustainability stories are real, worthwhile and all about doing the right thing.”

Simon Townsend, Ei Group Chief Executive, said: “As the UK’s largest pub company, becoming a greener business is of fundamental importance to us and we have introduced a number of tailored initiatives across our managed and leased and tenanted divisions to reduce our environmental impact.

“As consumer focus on sustainable purchasing and responsible business increases, so does our continual pursuit of reducing energy consumption across our estate through adopting forward-thinking green initiatives. These include offering electric car charging points in pub car parks and targeted upgrades to heating and cooling equipment in pubs.”

[1] Environment Agency data, provided by individual pub operators to the Environment Agency

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