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Beer Leads the Way in Sustainability

A Clean Future releases report on Leading Sustainability Practices in the Brewing Industry

New York, NY, December 06, 2012 --( Brewers lead the charge in sustainable products, says a new report issued this month by A Clean Future, an environmental think tank and consultancy based in New York. The study found leading sustainability practices at the world’s largest breweries and the top US-based craft breweries. Breweries boost profits by reducing energy, greenhouse gasses, waste, and water use.

“Acting sustainably seems so obvious, we just do it,” says Eric Ottaway, General Manager at Brooklyn Brewery. “We don’t need a financial case to tell us it’s the right thing to do.”

Energy efficiency is the most popular form of energy reduction, the report states. Improved heating and cooling systems drive savings. Brewers reduce energy in transportation by using route software that reduces mileage driven. To reduce shipping weight and volume many brewers are moving from bottles to cans.

All large brewers, as well as many craft brewers, use some form of renewable energy, including solar, wind, and biogas, in some cases covering up to 100% of their energy needs. All large brewers in the study publicly reported their greenhouse gas emissions, showing reductions up to 10% per year.

“It’s important to highlight what companies do right,” says Seth Scott, Senior Vice President at A Clean Future. “This encourages companies in all industries to act responsibly.”

A Clean Future observed a growing trend of breweries preferring organic ingredients. Large brewers follow written sourcing policies which dictate local and organic purchases. While craft brewers rarely have a written policy, they tend to source locally.

"You don't have to do it all at once,” says Chris Ranson, Environmental Programs Administrator at Lakefront Brewery. “It starts with small initiatives, which add up to bigger things.”

Brewers work hard to keep waste out of landfills. Some breweries achieve 100% waste diversion. All large and craft brewers in the study sell organic waste to farmers for fertilizer and animal feed. They also put in place sophisticated recycling programs for bottles and cans.

Facing an increasing threat of droughts and other effects of climate change, brewers monitor their water use through a process known as water footprinting. Leaders use over 40% less than the industry average by recycling, reducing, and purifying waste water.

Brewers form strong ties to their communities. Large brewers often set aside a percentage of pre-tax revenue for philanthropy. Craft brewers support local causes through donations, events, and employee hours.

All brewers show concern for protecting the four products essential to beer - water, yeast, malt, and hops. This direct tie to the environment drives sustainable action. That’s something all beer lovers can toast to.

Download the full report from A Clean Future’s website at
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A Clean Future
Seth Scott

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