AB InBev aims to have net zero operations in its five biggest European breweries in 2028. This means reducing total CO₂ emissions far beyond its 2025 sustainability goals. Net zero operations will be first the Magor and Samlesbury breweries in the UK in 2026, followed by the Leuven, Jupille and Bremen breweries in Belgium and Germany in 2028. This ambition would reduce annual CO₂ emissions by 110,740 tonnes, equivalent to the emissions of almost 35,000 cars.
The company has identified 29 distinct technologies, that show great promise to contribute to the net zero ambition, and several have already been implemented.
Among them are Hydrogen as fuel, deployed at the Magor brewery, providing zero carbon power and fuel for all brewery operations, Simmer & Strip technology, which provides 80% energy savings in the boiling phase of production and reduces brewing emissions by 5%, and Dry De-Husking which uses less energy in mashing and creates less reliance on fossil fuels in the process.
In addition, AB InBev is betting on renewable electricity in Europe. The company announced Europe’s largest ever corporate solar power deal with BayWa r.e. to build the Budweiser Solar Farm in Spain, which will enable it to brew all of its beers across Western Europe with renewable electricity by March 2022, as part of a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA). (inside.beer, 9.1.2020) This includes the development of two new solar sites in Spain, which are designed to provide 250 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity per year for AB InBev’s breweries across Europe as of 2022.
As well as switching to green fuel, the company continues to investigate ways to make its operations more energy efficient. One example is its “Simmer & Strip” technology, invented in AB InBev’s global R&D Centre (Global Innovation and Technology Centre “GITEC”) in Leuven, Belgium. The innovative process provides 80% energy savings in the boiling phase of production and reduces brewing emissions by 5%. The patent has been shared with smaller brewers.
AB InBev has also been encouraging climate action from European consumers too, leveraging one of its global brands, Budweiser, to champion a renewable electricity transition globally and empower consumers to choose renewables. Budweiser’s renewable electricity symbol celebrates the commitment to brew with 100% renewable electricity from wind and solar.
AB InBev has made substantial progress towards its 2025 climate target: an estimated 16% reduction of its carbon footprint across its 16 Western European breweries between 2017 and 2020, eliminating over 30,000 tonnes of CO₂ from its operations.
Bart Grieten, VP Supply at AB InBev Europe said: “We have always relied on natural resources to brew our beer. And because we want to be brewing for many years to come, it’s vital that we protect and preserve those natural resources. Brewing great beers relies on a healthy environment and thriving communities. Sustainability is not just part of our business, it is our business – and it always will be.”
Erik Novaes, VP Procurement & Sustainability at AB InBev Europe said: “This announcement is a major moment as we continue to work tirelessly to achieve the ambitious 2025 sustainability goals we have set. We are proud of our unwavering ambition to environmental stewardship, and we are working in partnership with others to tackle climate change, water stress, packaging and waste and biodiversity loss. We want to create a future with more cheers that everyone can celebrate and everyone can share.”
The strategy to support the ambition to achieve net zero in Europe is built primarily on switching fuel sources and increasing energy efficiency. The company has identified 29 distinct technologies, that show great promise to contribute to the net zero ambition, and several have already been implemented.
On a global scale, AB InBev is also on the right track towards its 2025 sustainability goals. Between 2017 and 2020, absolute greenhouse gas emissions in its operations (Scopes 1 and 2) reduced by nearly 25% and value chain emissions (Scopes 1, 2, 3) reduced by over 10% per hectoliter.
AB InBev announced earlier this year its first carbon neutral breweries in Wuhan, China, and Ponta Grossa, Brazil and its first carbon neutral malthouse in Brazil.