FOR THE GOOD OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Beer is more than just a beverage to us – it represents an important part of our living culture. As the largest brewing group in Austria, it is understood that we are bound by a responsibility to the environment.
From the field to the bottle and from the grain to the customer, we actively take measures to protect the environment. Our strategy: lower the consumption of energy and water, minimize CO2 emissions, reduce the consumption of raw materials and generate less waste. Every day, we are working to become better. We are setting environmental standards for the entire industry through relevant projects at all of our locations. We do this here in Austria as well as internationally as part of the HEINEKEN Family.
The elements of our approach are clearly defined: lower the consumption of energy and water, minimize CO2 emissions, reduce the consumption of raw materials and generate less waste. With the exception of our affiliate, the Villach Brewery, all of our breweries have been certified according to the environmental management system, ISO 14001:2009. We operate on a precautionary principle, in which we are constantly working on improving elements in social and environmental areas with regard to our business. Environmental management systems make it possible to systematically approach a broad spectrum of environmental topics in our company. Emerging requirements in environmental protection, such as the laws governing energy efficiency, for example, can be integrated into existing environmental management systems.
Every day, we are working to become better. We are setting environmental standards for the entire industry through relevant projects at all of our locations. We do this here in Austria as well as internationally as part of the HEINEKEN Family.
Environmental management – our principal focal point
– Sustainable sourcing
– Protecting water resources
– Reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions
Together with the other companies in the HEINEKEN Family, we have developed a CO2 footprint model that calculates the greenhouse gas emissions over the entire value chain of a beer producer. In this manner, we want to identify the critical points in relation to our CO2 footprint. The calculation is based on the “Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard” methods from WBCSD/WRI, which can be adjusted to suit the needs of the brewing industry. Our model incorporates the six phases in the life cycle of a beverage – from cultivation of the raw materials in the fields, through the brewing process and transport, to cooling when it is delivered to the customer. Therefore, scope 1 and 2, as well as scope 3 emissions are taken into account*.
Scope 1 and 2 emissions are reported on an annual basis and can be seen in the appendix. Scope 3 emissions are only calculated for the purpose of the biennial carbon footprint and are not available in detail.
At 45.6 kg CO2e* per hectoliter of beer, the carbon footprint of Brau Union Österreich is significantly lower than the average of the HEINEKEN Family (64.1 kg CO2e/hl).
A comparison with the year 2011 shows that the carbon footprint has increased by 4.6 kgCO2e/hl. This is primarily attributable to the increase in CO2e emissions in packaging materials (+ 4.7 kgCO2e/hl) as well as in distribution (+ 3.4 kgCO2e/hl). In contrast, emissions from malting and processing have decreased by 2.7 kgCO2e/hl.
It is important to us to constantly initiate and implement projects that lead to a decrease in CO2e emissions.
* Scope 1 and 2 emissions are reported on an annual basis and can be seen in the appendix. Scope 3 emissions are only calculated for the purpose of the biennial carbon footprint and are not available in detail.
**CO2e = carbon dioxide equivalents = value for the relative effect of the contribution to global warming by a greenhouse gas
We have set out to achieve two goals through the utilization of sustainable raw materials from Austria. One, we want to keep the transport distances short to protect the environment. Two, we are also interested in keeping jobs in Austria and want to create value here in the country.
“Our suppliers and the quality of the goods delivered to our breweries determine our success. The fact that we use a large proportion of raw materials from Austria and have built solid, long-term relationships with our suppliers allows us to ensure the quality of beer produced by Brau Union.”
Johann Jäger, Director of Purchasing
WE STAND BEHIND “MADE IN AUSTRIA”
More than 86 % of our malt is made from malting barley grown in Austria, while around 93 % of our hops also are cultivated in Austria. Gösser beer is brewed exclusively (100 %) from Austrian raw materials, thus allowing these products to bear the red-white-red AMA quality seal. The organic beer from Schladming bears the Bio Austria quality seal.
Our yeast is propagated under the most hygienic conditions possible and comes exclusively from Austria. The same is true of the water we use for brewing, which originates entirely from protected water sources in Austria.
PACKAGING MATERIALS GENERATE THE MOST CO2 EMISSIONS
We choose the most environmentally friendly options for our packaging, using recycled materials whenever possible. This significantly impacts our carbon footprint, since packaging material produces the most CO2e emissions, at 36 %.
We also voluntarily participate in the sustainability agenda for beverage packaging of the Austrian Beverage Industry (2008 to 2017) and have an additional agreement as part of the sustainability agenda – demands on returnable containers. The related reduction of CO2 equivalents is a matter of particular importance to Brau Union Österreich.
Packaging utilized in 2015 can be grouped into several categories. The packaging is classified according to the volume filled: Returnable glass bottles represent the largest proportion of the packaging at close to 48 %, cans occupy second place at 24 %, kegs in third place at almost 20 %. The remainder is distributed among disposable glass bottles and PET bottles.
Ultimately, 67 % of our beverages are packaged in environmentally friendly returnable containers, i.e. returnable glass bottles as well as kegs. The remaining 33 % of our products are filled in disposable glass bottles, PET bottles and cans.
Of the various types of packaging, aluminum cans have the largest negative impact on the environment. Their production requires a great deal of energy and generates a large amount of CO2 emissions. Although problematic, PET bottles and disposable bottles are considered favorable, especially in urban areas. In order to minimize the impact of our containers, our suppliers are trying to increase the percentage of secondary raw materials.
The goal of our “Green Packaging” initiative is to find more efficient packaging solutions. With the aid of life cycle analysis, we are working on reducing the weight of our packaging. This is equally true for design, package size and production method.
Together with our suppliers, we lowered the weight of our disposable bottles, crown caps, can lids and cartons in 2015.
WE AUDIT OUR SUPPLIERS
All suppliers, with which we regularly conduct business, are required to sign an agreement to comply with the defined values and principles concerning human rights, occupational safety and environmental protection as outlined in the HEINEKEN Supplier Code. Our suppliers are audited and classified into risk groups. Partners in high-risk groups must undergo an assessment by EcoVadis. Finally, a plan with corrective measures to improve the CSR performance of the supplier can be drafted if deemed necessary. In 2015, sixteen suppliers were classified as high-risk and have all successfully passed the EcoVadis assessment. An unwillingness to sign the agreement or failure to uphold the stipulations in the HEINEKEN Supplier Code can lead to the termination of business relations.
HOW WE AVOID CREATING WASTE
We have created “environmental teams” at all of our locations. Their task, as part of our TPM (Total Productive Management) process, is to reduce the amount of waste generated, to seek recycling options and to ensure the correct disposal of the remaining waste. A total of 102.733 tons of waste material was generated in 2015 – consisting of spent grains, waste yeast, cardboard, glass, cans and commercial waste – which represents an increase in waste volume of 5.8 % compared to the previous year. This increase is due to a higher production volume.
All of our disposable packaging is licensed by Altstoff Recycling Austria AG, and the material is recycled through thermal or material means after collection. This enabled us to achieve a recycling rate* of 100 % for 2015. Both internal and external audits monitor whether we are disposing of our waste in accordance with waste disposal and legislation on reporting.
The residues from beer production are also utilized in a wide variety of ways. A large proportion of the spent grains and waste yeast are used to supplement animal feed or as fertilizer in agriculture. Certification according to the AMA feed guidelines Pastus+ has been expanded to all production locations. This helps to ensure the highest quality for our animal feed.
Furthermore, we donate functional electrical appliances and furniture to social organizations such as Volkhilfe or Caritas.
* In accordance with HEINEKEN’s definition, recycling means a 100 % disposal in compliance with the law as well as further material recovery where possible.
“We rely on our own well to supply the water for brewing our beer – this gives us not only excellent water quality, but also a secure water supply.”
Dietmar Roher, Environmental Protection Officer
There is one raw material in beer production which is needed the most: water. Our water comes exclusively from Austria – and almost everywhere, from deep brewery-owned wells and springs. With the exception of Schladming, Brau Union Österreich owns water wells at all of its production facilities.
We carefully monitor the quality of the water at all of our breweries. All of the water required for our production process fulfills legislative requirements for potable water, i.e. water suitable for human consumption. We have also created protection areas designed to keep our water pure and to prevent any negative impact from the environment.
We are committed to recycling all of our process water and returning it to the source. Specific limits are defined in the regulations governing the emissions allowable in effluent. This is both internally and externally monitored. There were no deviations from these values in 2015. Since some of our breweries are located in sensitive watershed areas, this is of special significance. Schwechat is located on the border of the Danube Floodplain National Park, Wieselburg on the Natura 2000 Erlauf River floodplain, while Göss has its own protected reserve for natural springs.
Biodiversity is something else we strongly support. As an example, we have supported projects such as building new fish ladders in Zipf (Redl) and Wieselburg (Erlauf) and will do so in the future.
We constantly work to reduce our water consumption and have implemented targeted measures in all of our breweries. The following table shows our specific water consumption starting with the reference year of 2008. During this period, we were able to reduce our water consumption by 42%. Our consumption values are very low, even compared to others an international level: for example, HEINEKEN’s average consumption is 3.9 hl/hl.
Traditionally speaking, saving energy and conserving resources has always been actively pursued at Brau Union Österreich. We utilize electricity almost exclusively from renewable resources. Energy consumption in the production areas is constantly monitored – both internally and externally – which then serves as the basis for measures to effectuate improvement.
New energy efficiency regulations went into effect on January 1st 2015. The regulations stipulate that Brau Union Österreich, as a company with more than 250 employees, must demonstrate an energy saving of 0.6 % each year. This necessitates a systematic approach in the form of an integrated environmental and energy management system, training internal energy auditors as well as reporting the measures implemented to the monitoring agency.
We want to minimize transport, which is why we have organized our logistics regionally. Whenever possible, we try to limit transport distances. For example, we only send out the number of trucks we need on a given day to cover the sales volume. According to the Carbon Footprint Report, 17 % of all emissions are generated by transport, so we are implementing ongoing savings measures in this area: we only buy low-emission EURO6 trucks and remove old trucks from the market. We are in the process of replacing gas and diesel-powered forklifts with electric ones. The Gösser Brewery has a truck powered by natural gas, which is exactly in step with the times with regard to alternative fuel sources and represents an option for further investment in this area. Our employees who drive trucks as a career receive special training – every five years they attend a session on ways to save fuel as part of the federally mandated C9 training. Furthermore, our “Car Policy” stipulates that company vehicles must be diesel-powered and low in emissions.
DIRECT MEASURES IMPLEMENTED WITH CUSTOMERS
With the “Green Cooling Initiative”, we are working on innovative refrigeration methods with our suppliers. 100% of our equipment aggregates comply with our internal guidelines on “Green Cooling”. The guidelines prescribe the refrigerant to be used, the life cycle of the equipment, the lighting, the fans and the integration of an energy saving system.
Our specific total energy consumption in 2015 was at 80.6 MJ per hectoliter of beer. A comparison of our energy consumption value to the mean value for HEINEKEN (93.4 MJ/hl) shows that Brau Union Österreich is doing an admirable job in this area.
Since the base year of 2008, we have been able to reduce our specific total energy consumption by more than 10 % (thermal energy -6.1 %, electricity -20.3 %). These reductions were achieved through continuous energy reduction and energy efficiency measures. In 2015, our energy audit revealed various possibilities for further energy reductions which will be implemented at our breweries through various projects in the coming year.
Thanks to the increased utilization of renewable energy sources, a low output of 2.9 kg CO2e/hectoliter of beer in the production area could be reached. This corresponds to a reduction of CO2e emissions of 45 % since the base year 2008. Our numbers compared to the HEINEKEN-2020-target of 7.6 kg CO2e/hectoliter shows that our value is already markedly below.
The measurement value is a combination of direct emissions (combustion of fossil fuels) and indirect emissions (from the purchase of electricity and a community heating project generated with fossil fuels). In 2016 our aim is to initiate projects to further reduce our direct (2.4 kg CO2/hl) as well as indirect (0.46 kg CO2e/hl) CO2e emissions.
* The total amount of energy consumption is not used in calculating the specific energy consumption for beer production. In order to encourage the utilization of biogas, this quantity was not included in the calculation. The energy consumed for internal logistics processes was also not included. Care should be taken when comparing these figures to those of the past year – the values for the Puntigam brewery have been figured on a completely new basis.
ENERGY FROM SPENT GRAINS
We are able to utilize the new spent grain fermentation system in Göss to create energy from production residues, which can then be used for steam generation and can be converted to electricity. The residues from the spent grain fermentation system can be used as a high quality fertilizer.
SUSTAINABLE HOP CULTIVATION
Our hop suppliers in Leutschach use green electricity and energy from photovoltaic systems to power the hop drying equipment. Chemical fertilizers have been replaced with compost and humus, herbicides are not applied and insecticides are only used when absolutely necessary.
DRY BELT LUBRICATION
At our facilities in Schwechat, Puntigam and Göss, we have opted for a dry belt lubrication method. This has resulted in a 50 % reduction in the volume of water required for belt lubrication at the Schwechat facility in 2014. In Puntigam and Göss, the former lubrication system has been converted to a semi-dry lubrication method, which makes it possible to reduce water consumption by 80% in this area. This measure to improve efficiency has played an instrumental role in the overall reduction in the specific water consumption at the Puntigam und Göss brewery. Dry belt lubrication also offers additional advantages from an employee perspective – the filling conditions are more hygienic and the danger of slipping is lowered which in turn positively impacts occupational safety.
THE GÖSSER BREWERY – A GREEN BREWERY
The Gösser Brewery is well on its way to becoming the world’s first “green brewery”. It exclusively utilizes renewable energy sources to brew the best beer in Austria. Beer production is completely CO2-neutral, e.g. no greenhouse gases are released from fossil fuel-based energy sources. This milestone should be reached by mid-2016. The energy required at the Gösser Brewery comes from hydroelectric power, remote thermal energy generated by biomass, the recovery of radiant heat released during the brewing process, a 1500 m² photovoltaic system and renewable energy from the recently constructed spent grain fermentation system.
You can find the video about the green Göss hear:
Our activities for 2016 will focus on energy reduction, energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. Projects in planning include the following:
– Full commissioning of the spent grains fermentation system
– Evaluation of the utilization of geothermal energy in Zipf in order to promote renewable energy in Upper Austria
– Further improvements to energy systems and attainment of a CO2-neutral status (for example, at the Wieselburg brewery)
– Calculation of the environmental footprint of our beer based on the “Product Environmental Footprint (PEF)” method used in the EU
– Achieve further savings in packaging –> a collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture is planned to increase awareness for returnable packaging options
– One of the focal points for logistics in 2016 is the organizational merger of logistics functions of the Vereinigten Kärntner Brauereien AG (United Breweries of Carinthia), in order to efficiently utilize synergies and reduce distribution distances