By Gina-Marie Cheeseman — At a time of uncertainty about governmental commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement, Dutch beer brewer Heineken is among those companies that are continuing efforts to reduce its carbon emissions.
Heineken has set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2020 in all of its global business operations in over 70 countries. To achieve that goal, the company set targets that include:
• decreasing emissions in production by 40 percent
• decreasing emissions from its refrigerators by 50 percent
• decreasing emissions from distribution in Europe and the Americas by 20 percent
Heineken has been making progress on its 2020 goals. It reduced emissions in production in 2015 by five percent despite a production volume 52 percent higher in that year than in 2008. In 2016, the company achieved a 37 percent reduction in emissions compared to 2008. Its total carbon footprint decreased 6.3 percent in 2014. Its emissions in Europe, which include Russia and Belarus, decreased by 3.8 percent from 2015.
Part of reducing carbon emissions is reducing energy use, and Heineken has also been busy reducing its energy use. In 2016, it decreased thermal energy use in production by 2.7 percent compared to 2015. Its electricity use in production was 0.4 percent less in 2016 than in 2015.
Another part of carbon emissions reduction is the use of renewable energy. Heineken added rooftop solar arrays to five of its large European breweries and its Tiger brewery in Singapore. The six breweries have a combined 9.3 MW of solar capacity.
One of the five European breweries with a solar array is Massafra Brewery which installed 13,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on its roof since 2012. In November 2016, Solar Plaza ranked the brewer as the number one solar brewery in the world. The PV panel array is the largest one on any brewery in the world and has a capacity of 3.3 megawatts (MW). It can produce 4.42 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy a year and reduces annual carbon emissions by over 1,700 tons. It can meet up to 18 percent of the brewery’s electricity needs.
In December 2015, Heineken finished adding solar rooftop arrays at its eight distribution center sites in the Netherlands. The combined area of the arrays is equal to the size of Edinburgh Castle. A total of 12,000 PV panels were installed on the rooftops of the eight DCs and have three MWs of power, equal to the annual energy use of about 800 homes.
It is not just about solar power with Heineken. One of the company’s breweries in the Netherlands uses wind power. Barre Polder wind farm in the Netherlands meets up to 40 percent of its Zoeterwoude brewery’s electricity needs. The brewery runs in part on energy derived directly from the four wind turbines built on-site as part of a 15-year contract with Delta 1. The ultimate goal is for Zoeterwoude to be carbon neutral by 2020.