5 Big Energy Efficiency & Emission Reduction Milestones in the Beverage Industry | 10 Years of BIER

June 28, 2017 | BIER

As stakeholder expectations evolve and sustainability awareness grows, the beverage sector is facing increasing pressure to be more productive while also consuming less energy.

The good news? There are considerable opportunities to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across beverage sector operations.

For the last decade, the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) has been working to identify and help beverage companies harness those opportunities. The coalition was founded in 2006 by Antea Group and six leading beverage companies to advance energy efficiency and address other critical sustainability issues.

Since then, our members have worked together to achieve acceptable industry standards through benchmarking and best practice sharing around energy accounting, key performance indicators and transparency.

To celebrate over 10 years of work, our members highlight some of the major milestones we’ve achieved—and where we’re headed next.

1. BIER develops guidance for GHG emissions reporting
Since the early years of BIER, a core part of our mission has been to identify ways reduce energy and GHG emissions. We first formalized a working group around the topic in 2008, sharing best practices and common challenges. Based on those discussions, in 2010, BIER developed a detailed document for estimating, tracking and reporting GHG emissions. That document was named the Beverage Industry Sector Guidance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting.

“We wanted to achieve a common methodology for the beverage industry to account for and report on their GHG emissions, as well as help ensure compliance with the major protocols in the field,” explains Tod Christenson, Executive Director of BIER. “The Sector Guidance document helped us do just that.”

2. BIER releases its first energy benchmarking study
After five years of honing our water benchmarking study, BIER launched our first energy use benchmarking study in 2012 to provide insight and pave the way for future evaluation of GHG performance.

“Energy efficiency and GHG reduction should be a focus of any company’s sustainability initiatives,” says Geert Huysmans, The Coca-Cola Company’s Global Sustainability Manager. “The BIER energy usage benchmarking study allowed us to establish baseline performance data, track improvements, uncover opportunities, share technical expertise and best practices, and outline actionable next steps to help beverage companies bolster compliance and propel their sustainability efforts forward.”

The BIER Benchmarking Study continues to be the most comprehensive water and energy use benchmark in the beverage industry, representing over 1,700 companies across six continents. As demonstrated in the studies, industry energy use efficiency trends have improved by almost 20% since 2012.

3. BIER unveils carbon footprint research for five popular beverage types
To drive further understanding of the impact beverage companies have on the environment, as well as identify GHG reduction priorities, BIER launched a research initiative to analyze the carbon footprint of five beverage types: beer, bottled water, carbonated soft drinks, spirits, and wine. After months of work, our findings were published in 2012.

“Information and knowledge sharing are key components of BIER’s overall mission—something our carbon footprint research directly speaks to,” states Paul Bruijn, Senior Global Lead for Safety and Environment at HEINEKEN. “After analyzing the research, we were able to craft five detailed reports and the sector guidance on GHG reporting that can help support key business decisions for reducing GHG emissions.”

4. BIER develops energy management guidance to help drive healthier bottom lines
Simply put, energy savings equal cost savings—which makes energy efficiency an important and practical business initiative. To help beverage companies achieve energy efficiency and resiliency, BIER added an entire subsection of dedicated Energy Management Guidance resources to our website in 2015.

“We wanted to provide guidance and practical examples for how to: set boundaries and baselines; establish metering and tracking requirements; define KPI’s and benchmarks; and plan for energy savings,” says Bruijn. “I believe the Guidance has a broad application for manufacturing and is an excellent reference for companies that are getting started with or improving upon existing energy management systems within their operations.”

5. BIER member companies achieve double-digit improvement in energy intensity
By 2015, it was clear BIER members were leading sustainability initiatives in the industry by example. Based on our energy benchmarking data, we saw an 11% improvement in energy intensity and a significant improvement in GHG intensity in just four years.

“We’re thrilled about the progress we’ve made,” states Steven Meun, BIER Energy and Climate Working Group facilitator. “But more importantly, we’re inspired by it—and committed to raising the bar.”

Looking Toward the Future
In 2015, BIER released our Joint Commitment on Climate Change, detailing our continued commitment to collaboration, identifying solutions and taking action to further reduce the beverage sector’s environmental impact.

“A key piece of our future efforts is to continue to invest in energy efficiency, reinvest those savings in renewable energy, and pursue partnerships within our supply chain to reduce the carbon footprint of our products,” says Julien Gervreau, Director of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines. “We recognize our role as industry leaders to help reduce GHG emissions while maintaining our laser focus on making the highest quality products.”

To learn more about our mission, check out our About page. Also, BIER recently released our 2016 Water and Energy Use Benchmarking Study; download and read to see the sustainability progress the beverage industry is making.

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector.
By BIER [crp]

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector. Formed in 2006, BIER is a common voice across the beverage sector, speaking to influence global standards on environmental sustainability aspects most relevant to the sector, affect change both up and down the supply chain and share best practices that raise the bar for environmental performance of the industry. By doing so, BIER is able to monitor data and trends, engage with key stakeholders, develop best practices, and guide a course of action for the future.

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