December 7, 2021

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What does reducing the carbon footprint of breweries look like?

What does reducing the carbon footprint of breweries look like?


There’s a lot of talk about it, more writing and it’s already been impacted even in casual conversations – the carbon footprint. We hear about its impact on the environment from many angles, not only through various environmental initiatives, many major companies and big market players but also individuals getting involved. It turns out that it plays a major role in the cause of a greener tomorrow for the generations that follow. Reducing it is one of the main pillars of the beer pioneer in the Slovak market, HEINEKEN Slovensko, which has a global commitment to carbon neutrality in production until 2030 and throughout the supply chain until 2040. But what does this mean in practice and what does sustainable business look like in reality? It turns out to be a sophisticated and sophisticated system that begins with barley grains.

What exactly is a carbon footprint?

We discuss a lot about it, but it is not always clear to us what it actually represents. In the case of the carbon footprint, we are talking about the degree of impact of human activity on the environment. But what is the basic wording, so to speak. The precise and detailed definition is indeed relatively complex and opinions still differ in some cases. In general, however, we can say that in the case of individuals, direct emissions are taken into account mainly, which arise, for example, from the use of transport, heating, etc. All this is taken into account and recalculated. The result is the calculated environmental impact of these activities. But in the case of companies, it is not so simple. The calculation of the planet’s load is more complicated in this case, given the entire business process, and every aspect of production enters the end result.

The same scale is handled by HEINEKEN Slovakia, which looks at the entire production chain, from the barley grain to the final product, and identifies opportunities to reduce carbon emissions. We are not “only” talking about the actual transfer of products from the brewery towards the end customer, as if it seemed at first. The leading Slovak beer maker focuses on reducing carbon dioxide at all stages of the supply chain. Thus it is taking steps in the areas of agriculture, supply, production, packaging and logistics.

Keeping in mind its goal towards carbon neutrality, Heineken draws attention to the various details that play a role in the overall result. Refrigerators, for example, are absolutely essential to brewers, and are no exception. These companies buy only 100% green products, and meet the most stringent environmental standards.

Taking this from the end, transportation is an important part of the distribution chain and is a huge burden on the environment. At the same time, it is often what the public realizes most regarding the term carbon footprint. So the company is taking practical steps with the Hurban brewery to reduce it.“Last year, we expanded our fleet with one LNG truck in primary logistics, which saved 11,458.95 kg of CO2 in one year. In addition, this year we started building a silo in which we store granulated sugar. We will then process it into liquid and use it in our products.We will produce liquid syrup on the spot instead of importing it.Thus we reduce CO2 in transportation by 30-40% annually,Reports Martin Poszgay, Director of Production at HEINEKEN Slovakia.

At the same time, the leading brewer is gradually replacing more than half of its existing forklift trucks with environmentally friendly ones, which will be powered by electricity.

Local support for farmers with the participation of the brewer

In an effort to revitalize every area of ​​the production chain, Hurghana Brewery responsibly approaches reducing its carbon footprint when selecting raw materials for beer production. Last year, Hurbanov Malt became part of a global project aimed at supporting sustainable barley cultivation. As part of the “Get a Better World” initiative, the beer leader supports Slovak farmers and almost all the raw materials he needs today to produce beer (water, barley, yeast) of Slovak origin. An exception is hops, which, unfortunately, are grown in Slovakia only to an insignificant extent. By activating cooperation with local farmers, the carbon footprint is greatly reduced, due to the import of raw materials from abroad.

Hurbanov malthouse can also be proud of the first place in the use of green electricity among all Heineken malt houses in the world.

Restore and reduce plastics

The processes within beer production itself also play an important role in achieving carbon neutrality. There are a number of different measures in this area as well, which ultimately have the desired effect.“At the Hurbanovo brewery, we are trying to step-by-step replace existing technologies with those that are more electricity efficient and that are less burdensome on the planet. In 2016 and 2017, for example, we replaced compressors to produce compressed air. As part of the plant’s production operations Beer, up to 61% of CO2 consumption comes from recovery.We capture carbon dioxide during fermentation and put it back into production.We have been producing biogas as a renewable energy source for domestic power generation for decades.In this way,our company can produce 1,000 kilowatts of green energy in one year.” He approaches Martin Poszgay.

This is only part of the activities that the company is activating in its production process towards a greener tomorrow. Plastic is an equally important topic in a brewery. In 2020, for example, the company cut its neck from PET packaging, saving 100 tons of plastic annually.

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