Since 2008, carbon emissions at HEINEKEN breweries have decreased by 41% and by 2017 the company had already reached its production emissions targets for 2020. To take it one step further, HEINEKEN announced in early 2018 its ‘Drop the C’ programme aiming to grow the company’s share of renewable thermal energy and electricity in production from 14% to 70% by 2030. The company targets biomass and biogas to drive the decarbonisation of its heat production.
HEINEKEN is one of the world’s most internationally acclaimed breweries. Led by the Heineken® brand, the Group has a portfolio of more than 300 international, regional, local and specialty beers and ciders, employing over 80.000 people in more than 70 countries. Managing HEINEKEN’s geographic footprint is a key challenge carefully tackled by the company as it operates in both developed and developing markets. HEINEKEN’s vision for renewable energy, called ‘Drop the C’, was inspired by the idea that taking the C out of CO2 leaves just oxygen. Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board/CEO of HEINEKEN commented, “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 commits to increasing its share of renewable energy in production from 14% today (renewable thermal energy and electricity combined) to 70% by 2030. This implies an 80% reduction target in carbon emissions when compared to the 2008 base year. HEINEKEN’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. Today the split of this energy mix is 70% thermal and 30% electricity.
Currently 7% of the thermal energy used by HEINEKEN is powered by biomass and biogas. Making progress in renewable thermal energy is much harder to achieve than electricity. Renewable thermal energy is often self-produced and needs to be reliable to keep the breweries running. However, the company has also experienced the positive impact that renewable thermal solutions can have on the communities in which it operates. Unproductive waste from communities can be turned into energy and provide income for the local people. In Vietnam, for instance, the company sources rice husks from local farmers to heat its brewing boilers. 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. Heineken’s Göss Brewery in Austria, which began using biogas in 2016, is now also considered carbon neutral, according to the report. Other projects using “unproductive” waste near to Heineken’s breweries will also be progressed to increase the company’s production of renewable heat, according to the announcement.
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 Reduction of 41% in relative terms i.e. CO2 emissions reduction per hectolitre of beer produced. In absolute terms HEINEKEN production emissions have dropped by 7% even though production volumes grew by 57% in this time period.