Brew better: five steps 4 Pines are taking to reduce their environmental impact

11 Mar 2022

In under two weeks we’ll be welcoming in attendees back to our first face-to-face TRANSFORM conference in three years. As a treat, we’re stepping outside of the built environment to hear how other industries are meeting the sustainability expectations of Australian consumers. Here we speak to Ttobie Arowobusoye, Sustainability and Social Impact Advisor and Resident Green Kween at 4 Pines to find out how they are making sure they brew better for you, the community and the planet.

1. Became a B Corp

We are B Corp certified, keeping us transparent and accountable. B Corp is a rigorous independent certification where companies must prove their credentials across impact areas spanning environment, community, governance, workers, and customers. The certification encourages business to look holistically at our impact to generate a B-Corp score and in turn certification. 4 Pines has been B Corp since 2017 and  we proudly wear the badge to express our Brew Better ethos. Every 3 years we are audited which not only makes sure we are introducing new and better initiatives but also means we can benchmark our progress.

2. Continuously monitor and improve

We track the efficiency of the brewery weekly to frequently monitor that we aren’t emitting unnecessary emissions.  Keeping such a close eye on our electricity, gas and water usages allows us to quickly identify issues and put in place corrective actions. Our brewery at Brookvale is one of the most efficient craft breweries in Australia and has better efficiencies than many much larger breweries.

Beer is 98% water so instead of letting all that precious H2O gurgle down the drain, we waste as little water as we can, so that every drop can end up as beer. We go above and beyond the industry standard of using 5.3 hectolitres of water per hectolitre of beer produced. Currently we are sitting at 3.58hL/hL! That’s less water that needs to be treated and less emissions.

3. Find solutions

We wanted to transition from non-renewable sources of energy, and as a community focussed business, we wanted to take our community on the journey with us too. We decided to fit our Brookvale brewery with a 100kW community funded solar array. This powers about 35% of our energy use. This obviously wasn’t a total solution, so we decided to go into a Power Purchase Agreement with Flow Power which funds a wind farm in New England, NSW, and a solar farm in Wagga Wagga, NSW. This agreement ensures that all the electricity used at our brewery is from renewable sources.

We also continually review the latest technology to ensure our brewery is as efficient as possible. We've partnered with universities to test new concepts, for example we worked with Switch H2 to run feasibility tests to see if our wastewater could be used to generate clean hydrogen through electrolysis.  We are also working with the University of Technology Sydney to find an alternative end of life solution for our spent grain and have previously partnered with The University of Sydney to brew with drought resistant crops as a substitute for malt

4. Kick big goals

We divert >90% of our waste away from landfill & waterways which means less emissions at landfill sites. As we are trying to become a zero waste business, we work very closely with our waste management company. They help us find new ways to reduce and recycle our waste. We have already implemented bins to allow us to recycle even our most  obscure waste like PPE, Mailroom waste and Stationery waste. We also work with suppliers to see if we can return waste back to them for reuse or recycling, we managed to do this with our sticker backing plastic. This hard to recycle waste stream is now part of a closed loop system!

Since 2017 we have offset 738 tonnes of corporate flight and fleet related emissions. We know we can do more which is why we decided to put a stake in the ground and start the journey to become carbon neutral by 2030. In 2021, we mapped out our full emissions across not just our business but our upstream and downstream operations. This has helped us as a cross functional team to  identify our areas of opportunity and prioritise our projects that will deliver carbon neutral by 2030.

5. Support doers

We donate 1% of our revenue from all on-tap and pack sales of Extra Refreshing Ale, Pacific Ale, Ultra Low and Pale Ale. Through 1% for the Planet, we partner with great non-profit organisations that are helping fix big environmental problems. As a manufacturing business that has an impact on the environment, we ensure that we donate to charities that can directly enhance the work we are already doing in house to Brew Better. We have worked with Take 3 to keep our waterways clear of plastic waste, Organic Matters Foundation, who work with farmers to help them use regenerative agricultural practices and Landcare Australia who protect and restore native bushland. An example of this is our commitment to plant 44,444 native Australian trees, shrubs, and groundcovers at Cape Jervis on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula. And there's much more to come... watch this space.

Ttobie Arowobusoye will participate in the driving demand for sustainability across society panel on day one of TRANSFORM

This panel session will explore how companies and brands are making sustainability compelling to consumers and a driver of purchase preferences and brand value.

Tickets are available on the TRANSFORM website.