Business

Published on January 15th, 2009 | by pmcleod

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How Sustainable is Your Six-Pack? New Belgium Beer Answers.


Beer and EarthNew Belgium Brewing Company already topped lists of sustainable beers.  Its reputation and practices earned Chief Branding Officer Greg Owsley a talk at last June’s Sustainable Brands Conference.  And now, the Colorado-based company has released its first sustainability report, which includes a life cycle analysis of a Fat Tire six-pack.

Triple Bottom Line

New Belgium’s sustainability report highlights what sustainable businesses call their “triple bottom line” – people, planets, and profits.  With companies from different sectors starting to embrace sustainability (e.g., Toyota and GE), New Belgium’s market share success provides more evidence for green business as good business.  The new report describes New Belgium’s ongoing and planned environmental and social initiatives, including renewable energy use, green building design, increased brewing efficiency, and a philanthropic bike festival (Tour de Fat).

Fat Tire Six-Pack Life Cycle Analysis

In 2007, New Belgium figured out the carbon footprint of a six-pack of its popular Fat Tire beer.  They found that each six-pack results in 3200 g of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions.  (Note that this about equal to the emissions from driving a car one mile.)  The greatest emissions were due to in-store refrigeration.  New Belgium is reviewing the data with the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 25% by 2015.

Sustainable Philosophy

The new report also reviews New Belgium’s philosophy, their unique brand of playful sustainability and responsibility that helped earn them the top spot on Outside Magazine’s Best Companies to Work For.  Their stated purpose is “To operate a profitable company which makes our love and talent manifest.”  They are honest about the path toward sustainability being a process, and according to their report, are continuously setting new goals that honor their stakeholders and the earth.

With this new report and focus on sustainability, New Belgium gives new meaning to the term “drink responsibly.”  Sip on that.

Image credit: Lone primate at Flickr under a Creative Commons license.



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  • http://esmaa.wordpress.com Esmaa Self

    New Belgium is down the road a piece from us. We’re blessed to be able to enjoy great beer from a great local company.

  • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

    I love New Belgium beer, and was thrilled when I first heard about their green initiatives. I’m so glad to see they’re continuing down a more sustainable path…

  • http://www.solimpressions.com Ramee Hyde

    I also love New Belgium beer and I think that it is awesome to enjoy a beer at the end of a long day with the knoweledge that the company who brews it is environmentally responsible. It makes my beer that much more enjoyable and I recommend it to visitors (I live in Summit County Colorado)at every opportunity.

  • J Brown

    If they really wanted to be sustainable, they would refuse to sell their beer more than a few miles from where it is produced…..

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