4 Pines’ holistic implementation of sustainable manufacturing and operation throughout its organization is best reflected in its mission to reduce its environmental impact, or in their words, “Beer Print”. 4 Pines’ Beer Print, as part of its Save the Pines initiative, involves the organization reducing its inputs and outputs required in manufacturing whilst relocating its electricity source off the grid. Their goals include reducing its water consumption per hectolitre of beer produced to 3.65HL, diverting 90% of its waste from landfill, 100% renewable energy usage and upcycling 100% of its brewery by-products.
One of 4 Pines’ most impressive innovations as a result of this initiative was the creation of their first carbon positive beer, The Upcycle Ale. The Upcycle Ale was born from the desire to reduce food waste, by turning leftover bread from local and partnered bakeries into beer. After a life cycle analysis was conducted by Edge Environment, it was found that the emissions saved from bread wastage were greater than the impact caused by the brewing process and product consumption, resulting in a carbon positive brew.
Much of the initiatives 4 Pines undergoes with reducing its environmental impact and upcycling its by-products derive from 4 Pines wanting its manufacturing to become more efficient and profitable. Reductions in water and non-renewable energy consumption both improve the organization’s environmental and financial bottom line, whilst upcycling spent grain, hops and yeast for agricultural feed and fertilizer creates additional revenue streams. As Ttobie put it simply; “it makes good business sense” to spend time on these initiatives, that create a “win-win for the environment and our [4 Pines’] pocket”.
While 4 Pines’ organization-wide commitment to reducing its environmental impact guides much of their practices, The Upcycle Ale’s purpose was to reduce the bread wastage of other businesses. It was only after Edge Environment’s life cycle analysis 4 Pines were aware of its carbon positive footprint. Another driver for the creation of the Upcycle Ale was the desire for 4 Pines to understand the environmental impact of manufacturing beer throughout the brewing process and its consumption though the life cycle analysis. Although the Upcycle Ale was not financially viable, the information gained from the exercise, together with the partnerships built with other likeminded businesses were very valuable for 4 Pines.
Through reductions in waste, water and electricity consumption, 4 Pines has successfully reduced their current and long-term carbon footprint. However, it is the external and indirect positive impact that I believe is more impressive. The Upcycle Ale, while temporary, offset the emissions caused by bread wastage and transformed those emissions into a consumable, delicious product for consumers to enjoy. Selling brewery by-products to farmers for feed and fertilizer allows those farmers to have sustainable input alternatives that reduces their own footprint. Additionally, all of these indirect carbon footprint reductions improve 4 Pines’ financial bottom line.
As much of 4 Pines’ operations being manufacturing, gains in input and operational efficiency are key to the financial success of the business. Reductions in water and electricity usage through purchasing modern appliances, improved input efficiency and solar energy generation lower the cost of production in the long run, while reducing 4 Pines’ environmental impact. Upcycling brewery by-products as mentioned before, has created additional revenue streams for 4 Pines and opened pathways to further research and efficiency gains. 4 Pines is currently collaborating with universities to extract hydrogen from its wastewater for electricity production to power its manufacturing facilities.
The in-depth life cycle analysis combined with the organization-wide commitment to sustainability led to 4 Pines’ B Corporation Certification, which opened the door to future collaborations with other B Corp businesses and improved 4 Pines’ brand image amongst consumers and the business community.
The Save the Pines initiative has not only significantly lowered 4 Pines’ environmental impact but has improved the understanding of the possibilities of sustainable manufacturing practices within the beer industry and 4 Pines’ community of businesses. Many of these initiatives have created strong relationships between 4 Pines and other businesses, sharing information and practices that help improve the sustainability of the business community.
Ttobie Arowobusoye, Sustainability and Social Impact Advisor
Lillian Buchholz, Sustainability and Social Impact Advisor
Keep this story going! Share below!
Brookvale, New South Wales, AU
Business Website: https://4pinesbeer.com.au/home/
Year Founded: 2008
Number of Employees: 201 to 500
4 Pines Beer is an industry leading Australian craft brewery that is researching, testing, and implementing sustainable manufacturing practices throughout its product and supply chain to reduce their “Beer Print” as much as possible. While doing so, 4 Pines holds steady to its philosophy of producing delicious beer for its consumers from high quality ingredients and processes.
Born in 2008, from a conversation between father and son who wanted exceptional beer and were unsatisfied with the limited options available, 4 Pines Beer began as a brewpub in Manly, Australia. Since then, 4 Pines have grown to become one of Australia’s most recognized craft beer brands, frequently winning industry awards and accolades.
While maintaining high product quality throughout their existence, 4 Pines has been able to transform their company into a leading sustainable brewery through innovations in manufacturing, waste reduction and supply chain management. By achieving an organization-wide commitment to their “Save the Pines” initiative, 4 Pines has devoted itself to environmental and social responsibility. Through this commitment and subsequent organization-wide sustainable improvement, 4 Pines earned B Corporation Certification in 2018.