It takes a lot of beer to make beer, as the saying goes—but it also takes a lot of water and energy. It’s not easy to calculate the environmental impact of thousands of breweries around the world. However, it might be possible for each brewery to calculate its own.
A new resource from New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado, is meant to help fellow breweries of all sizes calculate and reduce their carbon footprints. The brewery released its Carbon Neutral Toolkit this week.
New Belgium has long had a vocal dedication to environmental sustainability; to “inspire social and environmental change” is explicitly one of the company’s four core values. In 2003, the brewery first established an internal department devoted to sustainability. That led to installations of solar panels, wastewater treatment, and status as a Certified B Corporation, among other things. More recently, SCS Global Services last year certified New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale as a carbon-neutral beer, making it the first nationally distributed beer to receive that status.
This year, the brewery released Torched Earth Ale to raise awareness of the consequences of not taking action against climate change. Brewed with hop and malt extracts, dandelions, and smoke-tainted water, the beer “uses the kind of ingredients that would be available in a climate-ravaged future … and they’re less than ideal,” according to publicity materials. Profits from the beer’s sale go to Protect Our Winters, which campaigns for carbon neutrality. The goal is to inspire more companies to make climate plans.
The Carbon Neutral Toolkit is part of that effort. “We know how important it is for businesses to work together to help solve the climate crisis—and drive business growth as a result,” New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer says in the news release. “Rather than keeping the rewards of our carbon neutral investments to ourselves, we’re giving away our Toolkit as an [invitation] to other brewers to join us.”
Specifically, the Toolkit outlines how breweries can measure their own carbon footprints, set strong carbon-neutral goals, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, purchase carbon offsets, advocate for strong climate policy, and earn carbon-neutral certification.
The Toolkit is available for free download at www.drinksustainably.com.