BrewDog branches out into planting trees

BrewDog is the latest business to branch out into the concept of carbon offsetting, with an ambitious plan for planting millions of trees in the coming years.

For millions worldwide, BrewDog is the producer of refreshing beers with quirky and colourful designs on the can. But that’s not all BrewDog is concocting behind the scenes. The Scottish brand has understandably taken a knock in revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the appetite for its beers is likely to remain solid, when conditions normalise.

BrewDog Forest will be one of the largest native woodlands created in the UK for many years

– David Robertson, Director of Scottish Woodlands, talking to climateaction.org

In 2019, the company boasted sales worth £86 million, making it one of the best-selling brands for miles around, in the UK market. As consumers show increasing concern about how much their favourite brands care for the planet, BrewDog is making the ambitious pledge to plant a tree for each multi-pack of beer it sells.

Sowing seeds of sustainability

We’ve written before about the concept of carbon offsetting, whereby businesses use inventive methods to offset their carbon emissions over the period of a year, by investing in projects which help neutralise their impact. One of the most effective ways of doing this involves tree planting.

Planting fresh generations of trees helps remove carbon through natural respiration. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, a single mature tree can absorb 48lb of CO2 per year. If BrewDog makes good on its promise to plant one tree for each multi-pack sold, through its Buy One, Get One Tree initiative, carried out in conjunction with Eden Reforest, it could significantly boost the amount of carbon offsetting it is already doing.

BrewDog already boasts on its official website about being carbon negative – rather than settling at being just about carbon neutral, the brand is actively taking steps already, to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. According to the brand’s Make Earth Great Again report, it will have planted one million trees by 2022, but that could be just the beginning.

No longer kicking the can

The beer industry is by no means a lightweight sector, when it comes to the use of materials and resources. Even so, the British Beer & Pub Association revealed in 2019 that the sector was doing its part to improve its impact on the environment.

Beer is created, when farmers take barley, water, hops and yeast, subject the crops to a process called malting, before boiling and mashing them in water, before allowing the resulting mix to ferment in large containers. The process is notable for being water-intensive, leading to rightful concerns about how to make sure the industry doesn’t waste a single drop during the brewing process.

However, the British Beer & Pub Association revealed that CO2 emissions from the brewing industry have collapsed 42 per cent in between 2009-19, while the sector is now capable of recovering 98 per cent of the waste it produces.

One of the great innovations achieved in the last decade is the reduction of the water-to-beer ratio – the amount of water required to produce a specific unit of beer. The industry is understood to have reduced this ratio by half, so modern brewers require just 3.5 hectolitres of water for each hectolitre of beer, as compared with brewing methods used in 1992.

Having a pint has never been so green!

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