The Scottish multinational brewery and pub chain announced yesterday it became carbon negative, which makes it the world’s first international beer business to reach this status.
Thanks to a £30m investment plan, BrewDog launched a series of unprecedented initiatives to remove carbon from the atmosphere and so help the fight against climate change.
These include purchasing the BrewDog Forest in the Scottish Highlands, a 2,050 acre site where the company will plant one million trees and restore 650 acres of peatland over the next few years.
Also, a sustainable campsite will host events for the general public and the brewer will be working with offset partners in order to double remove all of its carbon until it is able to begin the planting in early 2021.
Other green infrastructure projects are already underway, such as the wind-powering of British bars, the recycling of wastewater and an investment system that supports local brewing sites to shorten the whole supply chain.
“Our Carbon. Our Problem. So, we are going to fix it ourselves,” James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog, stated. “The scientific consensus is clear: we are sleepwalking off the edge of a cliff. Unless the world confronts the urgent carbon problem, science tells us that the results will be catastrophic. There has been too much bullshit for too long. Governments have proved completely inept in the face of this crisis. The change our world and society needs, has to come from progressive business and we want to play our role and nail our colors to the mast.”
The strategy was developed in partnership with Mike Berners-Lee, carbon footprint expert and founder of the renewables and environment company Small World Consulting, who also led the process of calculating BrewDog’s carbon footprint.
According to their sustainability report, in fact, BrewDog’s total carbon footprint in 2019 amounts to 67,951 tons of CO2 and 49,908 just from the UK business. From now on, they plan to remove twice as much carbon from the air than it emits every single year.
“Woodland creation of this scale is at the forefront of the fight to sequester atmospheric carbon in the UK and the BrewDog Forest will be one of the largest native woodlands created in the UK for many years,” Scottish Woodlands’ director David Robertson said.
Behind the move, there is the belief that carbon neutral is no longer enough and companies should instead do something to change the course of global warming.
“This absolutely isn’t a trend for us, it is massively important, the science is clear we are fast approaching a climate crisis, and we need to start work today, in order to have a planet for tomorrow,” Watt tells Forbes.
While the UN climate change conference looks for green sponsors, it looks like a good time to become one.
BrewDog’s decision to go carbon negative may convince other companies to do the same. “Through our work at BrewDog we wanted to set a new standard for all businesses,” Watt adds. “Businesses need to be held accountable for their impacts on the planet. We welcome other businesses starting conversations with us.”
“The government has not proven itself to be taking this issue seriously or urgently enough. We are taking matters into our own hands but would gladly work [alongside] policy makers to make change happen faster.”