Beer must be consumed, but also manufactured responsibly
When one considers beer brands, they most likely think about the importance of responsible consumption rather than responsible production. Of course, responsible consumption of beer is paramount. However, beer brands have a number of unique issues compared to other sectors, including efficiency per liter produced (water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions) and the opportunity to use environmentally preferred ingredients, such as organically certified.
Rank a Brand reviewed the sustainability performance of 33 beer brands. For this research, we looked at the performance of beer brands on multiple issues in the areas of climate and the environment. The conclusion was that, in general, beer brands have considerable room for improvement given that out of 33 brands, only one brand, Neumarkter Lammsbräu, achieved a B-label, while more than one-third of the brands received an E-label. If you would like more information on the general trends in the Beer sector, please read the Beer Ranking 2016 Report.
The high scorers
The best performing brand is Neumarkter Lammsbräu, receiving 16 out of a possible 23 points, and resulting in a score of about 70%. With this score, the brand receives a B-label, meaning it is on track towards sustainability. Among others, Neumarkter Lammsbräu performs notably well in the area of reporting the climate footprint of sourcing its ingredients, which all other brands fail to do. The next highest performing brand, receiving a C-label, is Gulpener. This is the only brand other than Neumarkter Lammsbräu that reports the use of organic or otherwise environmentally certified raw materials for at least 90% of its production volume. Brand, a C-label brand is notably the most efficient when it comes to kilograms of greenhouse gases released per litre produced, achieving a rate below 5,5 kg CO2/litre.
The general trends
The overall performance of the industry is not impressive. Out of the 33 brands, 12 received lower than 9% of the points possible, resulting in an E-label, meaning responsible consumers should avoid buying these brands until they show better performance. The lowest performing brand is the bavarian wheat beer Erdinger, receiving a score of zero.
A positive note is that all but one brand have published some sort of policy to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and the majority of brands have also described clear objectives to minimize the environmental impact of packaging. However, these are only policies, and do not necessarily translate into concrete initiatives and convincing results. Less than half of the brands disclosed verifiable climate footprints. Furthermore, concrete reporting on the use of at least 25% renewable energy was only reached by two brands: Gulpener and Rothaus.
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