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Raising the Bar – How Four of the World’s Largest Brewers are Tackling Sustainability

Apr, 2023

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According to a study by McKinsey and NielsenIQ, products that make a sustainability claim saw a 28% increase in cumulative growth between 2017-2022. In comparison, products that made no such claims only witnessed a 20% growth in the same period. As billions of hectoliters of beer are produced annually, it makes sense that brewing businesses are focusing on sustainable brewing. From agricultural production, energy and water use in the brewing process through to sustainable packaging, breweries are working on projects that meet climate change targets and help them to remain competitive.


Discover more about the initiatives put in motion by four of the largest brewers in the world and how they aim to achieve them.


Brew A Better World with Heineken


In 2021, Heineken announced their Brew a Better World 2030 strategy. Achieving net zero by 2040 will be gained through a transition to renewable energy throughout their business operations.


Heineken's transformational program, "Drop the C", focuses on high-impact areas to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. In production, process and cooling, Heineken is making positive changes. Replacing refrigeration units to reduce CO2 emissions and reducing thermal energy consumption are just some areas of focus.


In 2022, they achieved an 18% reduction in emissions against their 2018 baseline and improved their average water usage (hl/hl) by 34% compared to 2008.


Carlsberg’s Together Towards Zero and Beyond


Carlsberg's Together Towards Zero and Beyond program consists of targets addressing the environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics most material to their business and to society. Plans include decarbonizing production and thermal energy usage, increasing onsite renewable electricity and ensuring packaging systems are fully circular.


Carlsberg also has specific targets when it comes to water waste. By 2030, they want to improve water usage efficiency to 2.0 hl/hl globally and 1.7 hl/hl at breweries in high-risk areas in addition to 100% water replenishment of water consumption at these breweries. To achieve this, they are installing new technologies at breweries to improve water use efficiency, minimize water waste and increase cleaning and reuse of wastewater.


AB InBev’s 2025 Sustainability Goals


Introduced in 2018, AB-InBev's 2025 Sustainability Goals aim to drive transformational change across the entire value chain. Ambitions include purchasing 100% renewably sourced electricity and reducing carbon emissions by 25% across the value chain by 2025.


The business has achieved a significant amount of progress toward its goals. Business operations cut absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by nearly 25% between 2017 and 2020, while value chain emissions decreased by over 10% per hectoliter. AB InBev also announced their first carbon-neutral breweries in China and Brazil and a partnership to install their first green hydrogen station in the UK.


AB InBev is also taking great strides in creating innovative technology to make brewing more ecological. At its Global Innovation and Technology Center (GITeC), their innovation allows the brewer to brew with less heat and water and to reduce CO2 emissions worldwide. Once AB InBev implements this technique - which generates gas bubbles without boiling - in all its breweries, it will reduce CO2 emissions by 5% annually.


Our Imprint - Molson Coors


By 2025, Molson Coors aims to reduce absolute carbon emissions from direct operations by 50% and achieve an absolute carbon emissions reduction of 20% across their supply chain. Direct operations have already reduced carbon emissions by 24.1% and their value chain emissions by 22.5%.


Molson Coors is also committed to protecting water resources by making products with 22% less water hl/hl, restoring 2.5 billion gallons of water in watersheds and growing barley with 10% less water. This has been a successful project. The business has reduced its water use in breweries by 5.9%, restored 2.6 billion gallons of water in water-stressed brewery watersheds and reduced water used to grow barley by 10.9%.


Molson Coors is also investing in reducing emissions in their largest facilities. As part of the Build Britain’s Best Brewery program, Molson Coors invested a total of £85 million to improve energy inefficiency including a state-of-the-art energy center. This facility has now doubled the output from its CO2 recovery plant, allowing the capture of up to 47 tons of CO2 from the fermentation process each day. Learn more about their imprint goals here.


Thirsty for more? Filtration solutions to support sustainability challenges


Pall is at the forefront of developments in filtration that assist breweries in improving their ecological footprint and ensuring product quality. Below are some examples of how Pall filtration solutions can make an impact on key sustainability indicators for breweries:


Pall Aria™ SystemsBreweries are focusing on ways to reduce the water consumption in brewing, measured in liters of water per liter of beer produced. While the industry standard is 3 to 6 L/L beer Pall has demonstrated a level of 2.2 with implementation of an Aria System by increasing the level of high-quality recovered water back to process.


  • For example, a 1 million hl brewery using a DE filter produces several hundred tons of DE waste/year. With the PROFi system the waste is reduced to less than 300 kg/year.


  • CBS Systems: With this beer stabilization system, water and cleaner consumption can be reduced by 30% when compared to conventional technologies. This is achieved by significantly lowering the efforts for stabilizer regeneration and by reducing system vessel sizes resulting in smaller system hold up.



Find out more about the technologies that can make a difference here.


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