Australia’s first certified carbon neutral beer
Capital Brewing Co is a Canberra-based independent craft brewery. The company produces a range of award-winning beers called ‘Good Natured Brews’ from their Fyshwick location – a brewery and a popular destination for the taproom and eatery.
A culture of sustainability and continuous improvement
Capital Brewing Co started in 2016 with a commitment to sustainability. From day one Co-founders Tom Hertel and Laurence Kain bred a culture of continuous improvement aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the brewery. Now their commitment has received official recognition in Canberra, their home. The range of Good Natured Brews is a certified carbon neutral product under the Australian Government-approved Climate Active program. This is the first certified beer in Australia. Impressively, Capital Brewing Co is also certified as a Climate Active organisation.
Sustainable initiatives already in place
The company had already implemented energy, water, waste, and chemical reductions across its operations prior to certification, including:
- 100% renewable electricity usage.
- 709 tonnes of spent grain, hops, and yeast diverted annually from landfill and instead supplying compostable material for an organic farm.
- Heat exchangers installed between the brew deck and fermenters,
- A new water-cooled refrigerant plant with low global warming potential (GWP).
Calculating emissions unique to the brewing industry
The Australian brewing industry did not have benchmark data for calculating a carbon footprint so Capital Brewing Co turned to Climate Active specialists Pangolin Associates for help. Some of the brewery’s emissions are industry-unique, such as grains produced in different countries, and avoided emissions from waste product which instead goes to compost. The waste material benefits the environment and supports organic food production.
Pangolin’s help meant the brewery could confidently submit a report to Climate Active whilst establishing a template for other craft breweries. Pangolin’s comprehensive and accurate measurement ensured Capital Brewing Co passed all third-party audits and verifications, and achieved their ultimate goal – an Australian-first certification.
Life Cycle Analysis and scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions
Hertel and Kain wanted to conduct a Lifecycle Asessment (LCA) which incorporated all of scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Put another way, through an analysis of resources used, Pangolin’s LCA took into account the emissions directly applicable to Capital Brewing Co’s own activities, indirect emissions such as the purchase of electricity, and the emissions due to the activities of the company’s supply chain.
Offsetting: Natural Capital Units and Biomass Generation
Pangolin’s team also provided responsible carbon offset recommendations. These carbon credits offset emissions that could not be eliminated through Capital Brewing Co’s reduction strategies. The company selected Orana Natural Capital Credits for their work on the land and because it was an Australian initiative. This is a Bendigo Victoria-based project that improves biodiversity and threatened species recovery alongside regenerative farming practices.
To qualify as an acceptable Climate Active offset, Capital Brewing Co stapled each Natural Capital Unit to an equivalent amount of Anhui Guzhen Biomass Generation carbon credits, a renewable energy project in China. Anhui Guzhen Biomass Generation is a globally certified and Climate Active-approved carbon credit.
Measurements of success
The founders and staff at Capital Brewing Co are proud of each action that has made a difference:
- Offsetting 100% of scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions: 1,120t CO2e,
- Helping turn waste materials into a high-nutrient compost for organic growers: avoided emissions of 259t CO2e annually,
- Achieving an industry-low level of water usage: 4.1L for every 1L of beer produced.
The brewery team has also achieved a significant goal for the industry: a template for Climate Active, or simply for measuring and reducing emissions.
Taking on certification is a demonstration of climate leadership. Capital Brewing Co hopes to inspire positive change throughout the beer industry in Australia for the benefit of the environment.
Pangolin Associates was instrumental in helping Capital Brewing Co calculate our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, allowing us to become the first fully certified brewery and beer in Australia. Pangolin’s in-depth knowledge of carbon accounting allowed us to calculate the footprint of the entire organisation and all our products including upstream and downstream emissions. This gives our customers confidence in knowing they can enjoy an ice cold beer without warming the planet!
Dan Watters, Sustainability Manager, Capital Brewing Co
Find out about…
- Becoming Climate Active carbon neutral.
- How to go about carbon offsetting.
- Inspiring businesses – more case studies.
Photography: TL Ponich, Feathermark