EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) is helping New Zealand breweries reduce their energy-related emissions through a newly launched Brewing Decarbonisation Pathway.

The five-step pathway, endorsed by the Brewers Guild of New Zealand, supports breweries through knowledge sharing and encourages collective action to reduce the industry’s contribution to climate change.

The pathway takes an energy efficiency first approach. While the end goal is to move away from fossil fuels, the pathway focuses on achievable steps to improve existing processes, equipment and operations that will make the transition simpler and more cost-effective.

“Businesses across New Zealand contribute around 40% of our energy-related emissions, and it is not only our biggest businesses who can be looking at their role in this,” says Nicki Sutherland, EECA Group Manager, Investment and Engagement.

“Many small to medium-sized businesses currently rely on fossil fuels like gas and coal so we are working with specific sectors like brewing to help them tackle the problem.

“In addition to supporting New Zealand’s climate targets, decarbonising will help future-proof the sector, help it innovate, and reduce energy costs.”

Breweries are one of the first sectors to be supported through EECA’s Sector Decarbonisation Programme.

In the average New Zealand brewery (including small and large sites that are not a focus of this pathway), EECA estimates fossil fuel use is currently responsible for around 80% of production-related emissions – mainly through LPG and natural gas use for boiling ‘wort’ before it is fermented into beer.

“What’s great for brewing is that there is a high proportion of addressable energy-related carbon emissions,” said Sutherland.

“The brewing sector was also really proactive in engaging with us, and open to trying something new.”

New Zealand’s brewing industry is world-class. Last year, the industry contributed around $2.8 billion to the New Zealand economy and supported around 6,632 jobs directly and indirectly.1

“There are breweries in New Zealand that have made fantastic progress with emissions reduction,” said Sutherland.

“But it is by taking a sector-wide approach and being open to sharing industry knowledge and expertise with their peers, that brewing really is paving the way.”

The Sector Decarbonisation Pathway sits alongside an expanded Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund (GIDI) – which was announced by Government in May.

“All businesses are constantly juggling priorities and having to make tough decisions about where to put their resources – especially at the moment,” said Sutherland.

“It’s been so valuable to work with the Brewers Guild to help us properly understand the unique challenges and opportunities our breweries are facing. We’ve learned lessons we can apply in other business sectors as well.”

Recent research has found that around 63% of New Zealand businesses believe that it will be hard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without an increase in costs.2 Other barriers stem from the perception that any change to the current process may impact product quality.

“Decreasing your business's impact on the environment can also drive customer interest,” said Sutherland.

By signing up, breweries gain free access to bespoke tools, resources, and best-practice advice, developed with support from industry experts, which can help reduce operational costs and energy-related emissions.

Among the resources on offer is a bespoke ‘Energy Benchmarking Tool’, specifically for New Zealand breweries, that help to measure energy use and energy intensity and compare these to an industry benchmark.

“We think this is a really great opportunity for brewers to do what they do best. The industry is full of creativity and innovation in the way they develop and market their products,” said Sutherland.

Find out more: Brewing Decarbonisation Pathway | EECA

 

1 2021 Brewing in New Zealand Report – Brewer’s Association of New Zealand(external link)

2 EECA Business Monitor November 2021 [PDF, 1.7 MB] 

Further information 

The Brewing Decarbonisation Pathway is being delivered to breweries through an automated email process, which will deliver the right resources and information to businesses at the right time, depending on how far along the decarbonisation journey they have progressed.

The over-arching programme collaborates with sector associations and technical experts to connect New Zealand businesses with world-class innovation and best practice guidance. The resources accessible through the pathway are developed with industry experts.