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Scots Brewery Buys Forest

Craft brewer BrewDog is already carbon negative - removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits - but reckons it's still not doing enough.

BrewDog's brewery in Scotland runs on wind power and gas made from malted barley, all part of a strategy to reduce carbon emissions. But the company, which also owns a string of pubs, wants to be as carbon negative as possible.

On 1,500 acres in the Scottish Highlands, currently used for grazing livestock, BrewDog is going to restore a native forest, planting a million trees over the next two years to help sequester carbon. On another 550 acres, it will restore peatlands, a type of ecosystem that is particularly effective at storing carbon. Until the forest is planted (and duly sequester about 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide), the company will fund carbon removal projects from other partners, like the U.K.’s Woodland Trust, to offset its footprint.

BrewDog, makers of Punk IPA, Hazy Jane and Elvis Juice, is now carbon negative - removing twice as much carbon from the atmosphere as it emits, including all of the pollution in its supply chain. “We thought we were doing our bit when it came to sustainability,” says CEO James Watt. “The more we dug into this, the more we found out that we weren’t doing nearly enough. We are facing an imminent climate crisis, and we think carbon neutral is no longer enough. So we want to make sure that we as a company, as a team, and a community, have a positive impact on the planet.”

In addition to planting a million native trees, the company is building an anaerobic digester that turns spent grains, a byproduct of brewing, into biomethane that can be used to heat equipment. The brewery will also use the digester to clean wastewater and produce CO2 that can be used to carbonate its beer. The company is also shifting to electric vehicles. It’s also creating new products, like a vodka made from beer that can’t be used for some reason - say, an IPA that comes out a little too bitter - to further reduce its footprint.

As it continues to shrink that impact, the team saw that it was critical to offset the emissions that remained, citing a landmark climate report from 2018 that gave the world 12 years to radically reduce emissions in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. It also argues that businesses should do more than reducing and offsetting carbon. “I think we have to start speaking about carbon negative,” Watt says. “If you look at all the science, we don’t just have to reduce our emissions, we actively have to start taking carbon out of the air to get the planet back to equilibrium, which is why we felt carbon neutral wasn’t enough. And we wanted to make a statement by taking twice the carbon out of the air that we emit.”

Original source: FastCompany

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