Brewing giant announces ‘Drop the C’ programme, which will see reduced carbon in cooling alongside major expansion in use of renewable energy
Heineken has unveiled a new carbon reduction programme, which will see it target a massive increase in its share of renewable thermal energy and electricity in production from 14 per cent to 70 per cent by 2030. With the ‘Drop the C’ programme, the brewer said it wants to ‘drive a real change towards renewable energy’ rather than achieving reduction targets with unbundled certificates.
The brewer said it will set new emission reduction targets for distribution, cooling and packaging in the next two years, but noted that these three focus areas “are difficult to tackle and neither Heineken nor the industry can drive a reduction in carbon emissions on its own.”
Heineken said that for cooling, while it had already been buying green fridges for many years, it will now seek to define new reduction targets. The brewer won a Cooling Award for its previous carbon reduction efforts.
It added that it was committed to setting ‘science-based targets’ for these areas in the next two years.
Since 2008, carbon emissions at its breweries have decreased by 41 per cent in like for like terms (and by seven per cent in real terms, as its production volume has increased 57 per cent in that period). The company added that it reached its 2020 emission targets in production by last year.
Jean-François van Boxmeer, the brewer’s CEO said: “With all the good progress made in reducing our CO2 emissions, now is the right time to set ourselves new targets. When I visit our breweries, I want to see that we are brewing with real green energy and that we are not achieving our reduction targets by buying unbundled certificates.”
Heineken said that it realises that its diverse and extensive geographical footprint poses a challenge as it includes many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America where renewable energy solutions are not readily available.
The brewer’s energy footprint in production is driven by thermal energy, which it uses to heat the boilers needed for brewing and by the electricity needed for the production process. The current split of this energy mix is 70 per cent thermal and 30 per cent electricity. Its brewery in Massafra, Italy is one of the largest solar breweries in the world with a capacity of 3.3 MW.
Currently 29 per cent of its global electricity usage is renewable, while 7 per cent of the thermal energy used is powered by biomass and biogas. Making progress in renewable thermal energy is much harder to achieve than on the electricity side, the brewer noted, given that renewable thermal energy is often self-produced and needs to be reliable to keep the breweries running. In addition, today there are very few commercial solutions available, the firm said.
However, the company added that it has experienced the positive impact that renewable thermal solutions can have on the communities in which it operates. In Vietnam, for instance, the company sources rice husks from local farmers to heat its brewing boilers, while in Brazil a new biomass boiler was fired up in 2017 at the company’s brewery in Ponta Grossa, solely using woodchips from certified reforestation companies.