Drinks industry switches to sunshine

Two drinks companies have upped their sustainability credentials this week, with Asahi Beverages and Treasury Wine Estates announcing major initiatives in the space.

Asahi Beverages’ Yatala brewery on the Gold Coast is now brewing with the Queensland sun after the installation of the biggest solar project at any brewery in the country.

Around 7000 solar panels will directly harness the sun to produce beers including Great Northern, Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught.

The new 3.01 MWp system on the brewery’s rooftops is one of the biggest solar installations of its kind in Australia.

Yatala Brewery Plant Manager Tom Robinson said the panels were spread across 15,000 square metres, an area larger than Suncorp Stadium’s playing surface.

“The solar power we now generate is enough energy to power more than 800 homes and nearly 9,000 beer fridges annually,” he said. “Queensland is beautiful one day and perfect the next, so it makes sense to harness that perfect weather to make perfect beer.

“We’re committed to making the Yatala Brewery more sustainable and estimate the solar we generate will be enough to brew the equivalent of around 150 million stubbies or cans each year.

The project is a significant step towards Asahi Beverages achieving its sustainability target of sourcing all its electricity across the country from renewable sources by 2025.

TWE joins RE100

TWE – which produces brands including Penfolds, Wolf Blass, Pepperjack, Wynns, and Squealing Pig – has announced it is joining the RE100 global renewable power initiative as part of its commitment to switch to 100% renewable electricity by 2024 across its global operations.

TWE Chief Corporate Services Officer Kirsten Gray said: “We have more than 12,700 hectares of vineyards globally, so we understand the importance of managing and planning for the impacts of climate change – not only as a global premium wine producer but also as a responsible business that operates in communities all around the world.

“As we all work towards a cleaner world, we’re proud to be one of the early wine industry adopters to join RE100 alongside some of the world’s most influential businesses. We know that global warming is happening faster than previously predicted1, which is why we have set the bold target for our global operations to be powered with renewable electricity by 2024.”

RE100 Australian Coordinator Jon Dee said: “Vineyards have always relied on the sun to produce the grapes for wine. It makes business sense for TWE to go the next step and use the sun to power the facilities that turn their grapes into wines.”

Head of RE100 at Climate Group Sam Kimmins added: “Treasury Wine Estate’s commitment to 100% renewable electricity by 2024 demonstrates their leadership in the energy transition. Together, our RE100 members represent a powerful force for positive change, and we encourage all large-scale businesses to join us.”

Gray said the company’s commitment to RE100 is built on a legacy of reducing energy consumption and identifying alternatives to minimise the environmental impact of its wines.

“Electricity currently accounts for approximately 75% of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions and we’ve already begun the transition to renewable electricity through solar panel installations and solar hot water at key sites around the world,” she said.

Taylors Wines sets ambitious emissions reduction targets

In August, Taylors Wines became the first independent Australian winery to become a signatory to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The family-owned winery has set a target to achieve a 50% reduction in its scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, in line with the more ambitious target of limiting climate change to 1.5°C under the Paris Agreement. The 2030 target provides a clear pathway for the winery to show it is on track to becoming net-zero by 2050. 

“As viticulturalists we’ve always been intimately connected to the climate and changes in the seasons,” Winemaker and Managing Director Mitchell Taylor (above) said. “Our industry has seen first-hand the significant impacts of climate change on wine regions around the world. As a multi-generational family winery, creating a sustainable business is essential to the future of our industry and to the planet,”

“The targets we’ve set with the SBTi touch on many aspects of our winery operations and vineyards. We hope our commitment to this initiative inspires others in the Australian wine industry to set Science Based Targets to reduce their emissions.” 

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Categories: Business