Sustainability Blog

New Belgium Brewing is a craft brewery based out of Fort Collins, Colorado.  They are unique in the world of craft brewing in that they have 100% employee ownership and are a certified B corporation.  Best known for their flagship amber ale, Fat Tire, New Belgium has a wide selection of alternative craft brews.  

Of the five largest craft breweries in the United States, New Belgium Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing should be commended for their commitment to sustainability and disclosure of environmental metrics.  New Belgium publishes a brochure that supplements additional relevant sustainability data accessible on their website.  Hopefully other craft breweries will follow in their footsteps for developing sustainability reporting programs. 

An essential aspect of sustainability reporting is deciding how to differentiate between sources of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization.  Consider a brewery that is trying to quantify their GHG emissions.  The impact of GHGs from electricity generated by a coal-fired power plant is different than those associated with disposal of a beer bottle by a consumer.  The World Resources Institute developed the Greenhouse Gas Protocol to help organizations report on their greenhouse gas emissions in a standardized manner.  One of their best-known contributions to sustainability reporting is seen in the three “Scope of Emissions” classifications.  These three categories are commonly found in most reputable sustainability reports.  The following are three scope classifications and their corresponding 2014 results from New Belgium’s most recent sustainability brochure. 

Scope 1: “Emissions directly occurring that are own or controlled by the institution, including: on-campus stationary combustion of fossil fuels; mobile combustion of fossil fuels by institution owned/controlled vehicles.”

6.8% of New Belgium’s 2014 GHG emissions fell under scope 1, which was further broken down into 3.9% natural gas, 0.9% NBB Vehicle Fleet, 1.8% C02 purging, and 0.2% flaring. 

Scope 2: “Indirect emissions generated in the production of electricity consumed by the institution.”

7.5% of New Belgium’s Scope 2 GHG emissions were from purchased electricity.

Scope 3: “All the other indirect emissions that are a consequence of the activities of the institution, but occur from the sources not owned or controlled by the institution.”

85.3% of their GHG emissions were classified as Scope 3 Indirect emissions.  37.6% Glass, 18.2% Barley, 11% Distribution, 9% Retail, 6.1% Malt, 2% Aluminum, 1% USE, 0.034% corporate flights, 0.03% water, and 0.03% Manufacturing waste disposal.