UK brewers reduce carbon emissions by 42%

The brewing industry in the UK has decreased its CO2 emissions by 42% in a decade and now recovers 98% of its waste, according to figures published by The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

A handful of freshly harvested hops. Hops are the key bittering ingredient in the brewing of beer.

The new figures were included in the association’s Brewing Green 2019 report which summarises the industry’s achievements as well as its future environmental goals.

It noted how total CO2 emissions from brewing had fallen by 42% in 10 years, from a total of 487,146 tonnes in 2008 to 284,194 tonnes in 2018.

The industry has increased the amount of waste it has recovered, rising from 71% in 2006 to 98% in 2018. In addition, the document noted that the industry had decreased its water to beer ratio with almost 7 hectolitres of water needed to make one hectolitre of beer in 1992 to just 3.5 hectolitres in 2017.

As part of its commitment to the environment, the industry is working on long-term solutions and sustainable ways to source the products used in brewing. According to the report the UK is currently eighth in global hop production and fourth in terms of the varieties that are grown.

The figures used in the report refer to BBPA members, rather than the brewing industry as a whole. However, according to the BBPA, the beer made by its members accounts for over 90% of the volume production in the UK.

Moving to the pub industry, the BBPA said 100% of its pub operators said that reducing food waste and improving energy efficiency was important, or very important, to them.

86% of the pubs surveyed said they were offering smaller portion sizes to reduce waste, 83% said that had insulated their their cellars to reduce energy lost, and 71% said they had installed smart metres to monitor their consumption.

Those surveyed represents around 10,000 out of over 48,000 pubs in the UK.

The report also highlighted the initiatives of many brewers to improve their environmental credentials. These included packaging innovations employed by Carlsberg, Adnams, Diageo and AB InBev; use of leftover bread in brewing by Toast Ale and Adnams; energy targets set by AB InBev, Molson Coors, Heineken and Carlsberg; water innovation by Fullers, Hobsons, Freedom, Carlsberg, Heineken, Adnams and local sustainability initiatives by Hogs Back, Heineken, Adnams, Bermondsey Beer Company and Robinsons.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the 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.”

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