Changes to the climate are due to increased levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These gases used to be tucked underground in the form of fossil fuels. By unearthing oil and gas to power our cars, heat our homes, and manufacture the things we enjoy each day (including beer), they are now in the atmosphere where they hold heat.
Knowing that we're contributing emissions to the atmosphere means we need to do our part! We carefully track where and how we release GHGs at the brewery, in order to identify opportunities to decrease our emissions.
By following globally accepted guidelines (WRI’s GHG Protocol and BIER’s Beverage Sector Guidance), we have estimates for the total emissions associated with making and delivering our beer. We can use this information as guidance on where to focus our efforts to mitigate our impact.
We look to what the climate scientists are saying regarding how to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, and we set our goals accordingly! We've spent the last couple years modeling out a long-term carbon reduction plan for New Belgium that's in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommendations. Mapping out a long-term trajectory toward carbon neutrality is no small feat, but we're rolling up our sleeves and getting pumped to show that it's possible!
The graphic to the right illustrates where our emissions come from. As you can see, the glass bottle is the largest contributor to our footprint. (A big reason for this is because we use a heck of a lot more bottles than cans or kegs.) We've invested a lot of time and energy into minimizing the impact of glass over the years. We have light-weighted our bottles to make them as light as possible, and recently founded the Glass Recycling Coalition to improve the state of glass recycling infrastructure across the country.