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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Heineken: Brewing A Sustainable Future

Here's a brewery and industry in transformation.  Their new business  model is a true winning formula--heavy investments in efficiency bring environmental improvements and big jumps in net earnings and cash flow.

Wonderful they are building on a rich history by evolving and reshaping a company for a triple-bottom line future.  All companies should do the same.

The Göss brewery, whose origins date back to the 11th century, when beer was already brewed in the monastery that still stands adjacent to the brewery, played host to a milestone event on the journey to becoming the first CO2-neutral brewery in HEINEKEN. Already one of the most efficient breweries when it comes to water usage and energy consumption, the team in Göss have set themselves an ambition to develop sustainable solutions even where they don’t currently exist.

Gösser is brewed with only natural ingredients, all sourced from within Austria. The environment is therefore particularly important, to ensure sustainable supply for the future. Recognising that the brewery itself has an important role to play in making sure its operations have a minimum impact on its environment, the team led by Brew Master Andreas Werner continue to look for new solutions. They drive efficiencies, introduce new technologies and make the entire production process future-proof wherever they can. Looking for ways to drastically reduce the brewery’s reliance on fossil fuels used for heating water, the team has worked with several scientific partners for a number of years to develop the leading CO2-neutral brewery in Europe. An important milestone on this journey was celebrated on 18 September with the official start-up of the new solar plant, at a ceremony attended by representatives from the Austrian ministry of Innovation, the Monta University of Leoben - the most important technical university of Austria - and many other guests.

The solar plant occupies an area of around 1,500 m² and will generate part of the heat required for the brewing process in the brew house. Around 40% of the brewery's heat requirement was already met from waste heat discharged from a neighbouring saw mill, and 90% of the waste heat generated in the brewing process is used to heat water.

"We are aware of the huge responsibility we bear for the environment, society, customers, consumers and employees. Beer is a natural product. It is made of raw materials which depend on a healthy environment. Therefore, in addition to our commitment to employees and society, we also set great store by environmental protection and mitigation of climate change," said Markus Liebl, CEO of Brau Union Österreich (BUÖ).

The expertise in brewing beer without fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas) which the Göss brewery has developed with this project is also being put to use in Brau Union Österreich’s other breweries. But even beyond our own breweries, the team is keen to enable as many beer brewers as possible to reduce their environmental impact. They have compiled an industry guide incorporating the key findings and results are also presented at conferences such as that of the Federation of Austrian Master Brewers and Brewery Technicians. After all, the more beer that is produced by using fuels without any CO2 -emissions, the better for the environment of the future. 
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