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South Africa’s first carbon neutral brewery

(30 Jun 2018) LEADIN
A brewery near Cape Town has been recognised as Africa’s first carbon-neutral brewery.  
Darling Brewery offsets its emissions through projects including carbon capture and sustainability practices to create a tasty craft beer with a conscience.
Sustainability engineer Andre Harms is carrying out a greenhouse gas audit at Darling Brewery near Cape Town.
Reducing energy and water usage are just some of the measures the brewery has been undertaking to achieve carbon neutral status.
They achieved their goal with the help of Harms, a sustainability consultant.
He explains how it works: “Darling Brew undertook a number of initiatives and is so, on an on-going basis, to reduce their consumption on the premises. Yet that doesn’t mean that there is no consumption experience here. We still have to purchase paraffin for the boiler, we still have to purchase electricity for the production process – for the brewing process. And that remaining impact is quantified through a greenhouse gas audit following a certain protocol. And is then calculated into equivalent of carbon dioxide and off-set through a credible, verified, authenticated carbon off-setting project – in our case Kariba REDD in Zimbabwe.”
More efficient equipment, meters to measure energy consumption, and sensitising staff were some measures taken on the road to carbon neutrality.
An added bonus to this sustainability initiative is also turning spent grain into a crisp product to accompany the beer.
Darling Brewery’s greenhouse gas audit, after taking measures on site to decrease carbon output, came to 687 tons of carbon dioxide per annum.
This was off-set by purchasing carbon credits at a forest conservation project, Kariba REDD in Zimbabwe.
This process has seen Darling Brewery recognised as the first brewery in Africa to attain carbon neutral status.
Franz Rentel of the Climate Neutral Group, who specializes in carbon off-setting, is not involved in the Darling Brewery project, but agrees that this is Africa’s first carbon neutral brewery.
“We will see definitely more companies going that way because also consumers are becoming more critical in their purchases that they make. And, you know, this is definitely the trend. And in South Africa this is still quite a new thing. Overseas, in Europe, in the States, it’s much more common to have carbon neutral products, fair trade products etcetera. But we’re definitely seeing this picking up in South Africa. And so it’s really really fantastic to see and what’s also great to see is that the processes they followed  ere of the correct nature,” he says.
Darling Brewery produced 1.5 million litres of beer in 2017, some of which was exported to other countries in Asia.
With a carbon tax imminent in South Africa more businesses including breweries are investigating ways to try to become carbon neutral.
Earlier this year the country’s Minister for Finance Malusi Gigaba announced that the government proposes to implement the Carbon Tax from January 2019.  
Lucy Corne has written two books on the South African beer industry.
Darling Brewery Brewmaster Renè du Toit agrees it is a positive step.
When customers see the carbon neutral label on its beer, the brewery hopes it will get people thinking about sustainability.
Beer lover Nicole Mccreedy is pleased about the carbon neutral beer initiative which she hopes will become more widely available.

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