The past couple of years have affected all businesses, and many have redefined their priorities, strategies, and goals. At Asahi Europe and International (AEI), we did not let economic challenges presented by global pandemic distract us from our progress towards addressing climate change. At Asahi Europe and International (AEI) we act in a way that will enable future generations to fulfil their needs and aspirations, and we do this by placing sustainability at the heart of our business strategy. As well as setting ourselves ambitious targets on sustainability, we have also accelerated our efforts to make actionable change across our business and wider value chain. Our main long-term commitments by 2030 are to achieve carbon neutrality within our breweries and to work with partners to cut our carbon footprint across the whole supply chain by 30%.
Thankfully, we are not alone, with companies around the world increasingly considering long-term strategies to be more responsible environmental players by switching to renewable electricity. As leaders in many of the domestic European markets we operate in, we believe we need to lead by example and through our actions focusing on areas where we can make an impact, utilizing our scale, supply chains and partnerships. What we are facing however is bigger than us. Understanding the need to engage with others to serve a greater good, we wanted to share just one example of how we reached 100% renewable electricity in Poland to help others achieve similar goals.
We wanted to make a big difference and Poland was the clear choice. The country has Europe's largest carbon footprint in terms of electricity supply, relying heavily on coal and gas, accounting for 10% of Europe's CO2 emissions. Asahi Europe & International has a presence in Poland through its local company Kompania Piwowarska (KP), which owns three breweries with a rich heritage: Tyskie Browary Książęce (1629), the Dojlidy Brewery in Białystok (1768) and Lech Browary Wielkopolski in Poznań (1895). In Poland we employ more than 2,600 people and are the leading producer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer in Poland (36% and 41.5% market share, respectively). Our breweries, which provide Polish people with their favorite beers, including Żubr, Tyskie, Lech, D`ębowe Mocne, Redd’s and the Książęce specialty collection, are part of the very fabric of society. We knew that action by the Polish beer leader would have a big impact environmentally while also helping advance the wider sustainability agenda in Central and Eastern Europe.
AEI in Poland – Kompania Piwowarska Quick Facts
36% share of beer sales (1ST PLACE)
12.6 million hl of beers sold in Poland
41.5% share of non-alcoholic beers sales (1ST PLACE)
100% of renewable electricity in Polish breweries
55% reduction of CO2 emission versus 2020 (33,752 Mg against 75,873 Mg)
106,037 suppliers and business partners
2.65 litres of water per litre of beer (ALREADY MET THE EUROPEAN GOAL)
In 2011, water consumption was 3.2 litres of water per litre of beer
- 98.7% of waste generated in our production processes is recycled
- 100% of our packaging is recyclable
- 43% of products sold in reusable packaging
In 2019 Kompania Piwowarska signed a 10-year contract to switch to 100% renewable electricity for all breweries from electricity wind farms in northern Poland. Our partner in this endeavour is RWE Renewables (before-innogy), who have now built three additional wind turbines in Nowy Staw near Gdańsk delivering 12 MW of additional renewable electricity capacity in Poland.
The contract signed in 2019 provided for the purchase of electricity for 10 years, with the aim of covering 40% of electricity needs by 2020, and 100% by 2021. Indeed, after only two years of collaboration, 100% of KP's production is supported by renewable electricity. While this may not sound like much, this simple step has enabled Kompania’s Piwowarska breweries to reduce CO2 emissions by 66% compared to 2019.
Challenges and Opportunities
Asahi Europe & International and Kompania Piwowarska’s joint ambition to reduce emissions is a project as a result of collaboration between KP and RWE Renewables, This long-term contract guaranteed the purchase of electricity for 10 years at a fixed price from the supplier, for whom the contract provided certainty of revenues allowing them to spread the investment cost over a longer period and give the company “green light” for expanding the production capacity by assembling 3 new turbines. Making such a long-term commitment could be a risk for KP, as if electricity prices fall then KP could pay more than the market price for its electricity. However, this was deemed an appropriate risk to take if we wanted to support the construction of new renewable power sources in the country. This agreement demonstrates that embracing more sustainable practices can be beneficial to the bottom line.
We are proud of what we have achieved in such a short time, but ours is a long-term commitment and we have many more ambitious goals for the future.
The goals of making our breweries carbon neutral by 2030 and our entire supply chain carbon neutral by 2050, reducing water consumption and increasing the percentage of recycled material in our packaging, are all sides of the same challenge. In the coming years, the development of sustainable thermal heat will be improved to complete the gradual switchover. Indeed, a recently announced collaboration between Asahi Europe & International’s Italian brewer Birra Peroni and Absolicon Solar Collector AB will lead to the installation of a 660 m2 solar field to provide solar thermal electricity at our Bari brewery.
Through its purpose of creating meaningful connections, Asahi Europe & International is focused on enabling meaningful human connections that help us see and change more for the planet, people and communities. This has already led us to achieving 100% electricity from renewable sources in our breweries in Poland, decreasing our carbon footprint in the country by 66% in just two years. Combined with actions we are taking across Europe including Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, one out of two beers produced by Asahi Europe today is produced with green electricity.
The overall impact of our products cannot be limited to the breweries alone but needs to involve the entire supply chain: that is the reason why we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of the companies that supply or distribute our products as well. We are excited to continue progressing together towards our sustainability goals and making a real difference to the future of the planet.