Brewing industry is seeking to implement pioneering and sustainable practices in the manufacturing and delivery of beer in Brazil
Brazil is endowed with plenty of renewable resources for energy production, and boasts one of the cleanest energy mixes in the world. The search for striking a social and environmental balance has led the brewing industry to evaluate not only the environmental impact caused by its industrial processes, but also the consequences throughout the entire life cycle of its processes and products.
Sustainability in breweries means – in addition to balance and concern for the environment – cost reductions and the resulting market competitiveness by adding more value to their output.
The National Beer Industry Union (Sindicerv), which has Ambev and Heineken as members (together they account for 80% of beer production in Brazil), seeks to implement sustainable practices in the beer production and distribution process.
Initiatives of member companies are in line with the strategy of the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) towards a low-carbon economy in Brazil based on four pillars: energy transition, carbon market, circular economy, and forest conservation.
“We are more and more committed to an agenda of environmental growth and development in Brazil, and always looking for sources that result in less impact on the environment. Our relentless actions focus on reducing carbon emissions throughout our production chain, from ‘field to glass,’” says Sindicerv’s legal counsel Fábio Ferreira.
Together, Ambev and Heineken generate more than 2 million direct, indirect and induced jobs, accounting for 2% of Brazil’s GDP, 27 billion BRL in wages and 2.11% of total jobs in the economy.
Wind power – Companies have been investing in wind power to supply power to factories. A wind farm is in operation with 14 turbines in Ceará, and in Bahia another wind farm is being built over an area covering 1,600 hectares. The goal is to generate 202 MWh/year.
Member companies are also looking to replace fossil fuels such as natural gas and BBF oil and to replace non-renewable electricity with electricity from renewable sources such as biomass, vegetable oil and biogas. The sector already uses biomass from certified reforestation wood chips and vegetable oil.
Three breweries are now fully supplied with renewable energy and, by 2023, the goal is for all production to be supplied with clean energy, thereby reducing carbon emissions to zero throughout the process.
Electric vehicles – Companies are also looking to enhance the efficiency of cargo transport by optimizing fuel consumption and using more efficient vehicles to reduce carbon emissions. To achieve this, partnerships will be established in order to add more than 220 electric trucks to the fleet by the end of the year. The vehicles will also be fully powered by renewable energy, which will be generated by the sector itself either from its facilities or purchased from a certified renewable energy source. In addition, a project is underway to convert diesel trucks into electric vehicles.
Forklifts powered by fossil fuels are now being replaced by electric forklifts at the distribution centers. By 2025, 100% of the forklift fleet will be electric. The switch to electric machines reduces CO2 emissions, in addition to reducing noise and making the maintenance and recharging process quicker. Sindicerv also has 130 commercial distribution centers throughout Brazil and, by 2023, 124 will be fully supplied with either clean energy or certified renewable energy.
Regarding the refrigeration of products at points of sale, 100% of refrigerators currently follow global standards of efficiency, which brought about a 50% reduction in energy consumption and carbon emission at the consumer side. The equipment has sensors that track the hours of operation of the points of sale and trigger the stand-by mode when the venue becomes empty, turning off internal lights and adjusting the cooling system.