Brewdog goes ‘carbon negative’ using NbS – what does this mean?

Brewdog goes ‘carbon negative’ using NbS – what does this mean?
Carbon negative or neutral emissions targets must become the norm in industries if we are to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Brewdog has announced that from the 22 August 2020 they will remove twice as much carbon from the air each year than they emit. Currently, the only method for removing carbon from the air at scale is using natural ecosystems. Let’s take a look at what this company is doing:

  • Calculating scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions – i.e. direct emissions from company-owned machinery and activities (scope 1), indirect emissions from purchase of e.g. heating (scope 2), and indirect emissions through supply chains of business activities and purchases (scope 3). For Brewdog, as with most companies, scope 3 emissions are an order of magnitude greater than either scope 1 or 2. They are also the most difficult to track and calculate. For these reasons scope 3 emissions are often left out of emission reduction commitments.
  • Reducing these emissions – with a two-year plan, e.g. using renewable energy, electric cars, recovering CO2 from the brewing process, and minimising waste of cans by re-labelling those which didn’t make it to market.
  • Double-offsetting these emissions – by restoring natural habitats which draw down carbon through photosynthesis. Brewdog plans to create 15,000 acres of native broadleaf woodland in the Scottish Highlands, and to restore 550 acres of peatland. Whilst these projects are in planning, Brewdog will be funding other carbon offsetting projects in the UK, Australia and Canada.

Such carbon-negative business models are needed to address the climate and biodiversity crises. They are no-doubt the future, but we need them now. We applaud Brewdog for taking this decisive step to rapidly improving the sustainability of their activities, and we urge other companies to follow and improve on their example.

We also encourage Brewdog to ensure that their ecosystem restoration initiative meets the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions, and provides long-term benefits for biodiversity and local people, alongside carbon benefits.

Read Brewdog’s first sustainability report here.