Traditionally speaking, brewing beer hasn’t always been the most sustainable practice.

Brewing beer has traditionally had high environmental “costs”; the high use of energy and water in the fermentation process together with the refuse by-products of canning and bottling means being a sustainable beer brewer doesn’t come without its challenges.

However, with the climate crisis reaching a critical impasse and consumers being more willing to pay premiums for sustainably manufactured beer, green solutions are becoming more and more important.

Green shipping solutions for golden bubbles

Sustainability and being “green” is about far more than just what goes on inside the brewery. It encompasses every aspect of the supply chain, from sourcing of ingredients and packaging to storing and shipping beer around the world. Logistics accounts for between 9-12% of emissions for beer producers, no small component. Working with a logistics partner that understands and utilizes green shipping solutions is a key way for beer producers and brands to ensure lowered shipping carbon footprint.

Beer brewing is an industry that’s still full of untapped opportunities in terms of sustainability, and the future has never looked more golden.

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Decarbonising logistics with green supply chain management

So, what steps need to be taken? The first aspect of decarbonising logistics starts with optimising carbon footprint visibility across the supply chain. By identifying ‘emission hotspot’ corridors both upstream and downstream in their supply chains, beer companies can identify problem areas, and start to work closely with their logistics managers and the logistics partner to create sustainable and enduring solutions.

Solutions can be far reaching and long lasting, even when being a simple or smaller change. This could be as simple as shifting current modes of transportation – opting for rail or barge over trucking can cut emissions considerably. Working with a partner that puts substantial efforts into the implementation of electrification and biofuels across their network and creates tailored solutions for customers to ensure a high percentage of their cargo is transported using eco-friendly power, means brands can be reassured of their logistics being sustainable.

A data-driven approach to a more efficient supply chain

The industry is moving forwards rapidly to meet customer demand; several alternative fuels already co-exist, as well as several potential fuel pathways to decarbonisation in the shipping industry, including biodiesel, synthetic alcohols, ammonia and electrofuels, are underway. Strong investment and development in many of these technologies also means even more customers will benefit from the innovation on their supply chains in the near future.

Additionally, connecting and simplifying complicated logistics operations through data-driven supply chain management, can also play a major part in reducing emissions. Technology that integrates information from a wide range of sources, can create better visibility and synchronicity for beer companies, allowing them to optimise and coordinate processes to keep things moving in the most efficient way possible.

Efficient supply chain solutions

It’s important to have overview of all aspects, not just individual facets. Without unification, beer brands could be faced with over-full warehouses or stock shortages in specific markets – leading to the need for further transportation and subsequent increased emissions, as well as lost revenue. With ultimate visibility and control, comes opportunity. Many companies in the FMCG sector are analysing and re-designing parts of their supply chains shaped around near-sourcing, and opportunities are vast for regionalisation in the beer industry.

Looking upstream to the likes of farms for barley and malt together with packaging companies and more, near-sourcing options make for a reduced transportation footprint in what can be an emissions-heavy stage of logistical operations. According to the Belgium Brewery Company’s life-cycle assessment study, around 40% of emissions in the beer brewing supply chain are typically generated upstream.

Although beer manufacturers face several challenges when it comes to sustainability, particularly with complicated supply chains, the overarching commitment from small and large brewers to embrace green solutions is most welcome for both consumers and indeed the planet.

Collaborating with a logistics partner that understands the need for greener end-to-end solutions allows beer companies to establish their supply chain journeys as a positive step for the environment.

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