​​​Sustainability from Farm to Malt

MBAA TQ https://doi.org/10.1094/TQ-57-4-1227​-01 | ​VIEW ARTICLE
Nigel Davies (1,2). 1. Muntons, Stowmarket, United Kingdom. 2. Maltdoctor, Stowmarket United Kingdom

Sustainability is best described in terms of the triple bottom line: people, profit, and planet. This aligns environmental protection with bottom line margin improvement and with staff and wider stakeholder engagement. This review describes the rise of importance of carbon footprinting as a tool to examine the major contributors to malted barley production and the embedded carbon passed on to brewers and distillers. Opposition to the use of models of carbon footprint is being overcome through engagement of the supply chain and a desire for pragmatic solutions that can be implemented swiftly, which is essential because we have less than 20 years of carbon emissions left at current rates before modelling predicts global temperature will rise in excess of 2°C. Benchmarking and verification of sustainability data and improvement are in demand, but these are possible only with cooperation of many different supply chain partners and visibility from open data sharing. A recognition of global impact and an integrated approach to sustainability will be better achieved through adoption of science-based targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and incorporation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into business strategy. A detailed analysis of carbon footprint from farm to maltings is given, along with an analysis of the potential improvement in agricultural practice that is emerging. Carbon footprinting is the greatest leverage we have to find opportunities for improvement at the farm level, but the review looks at energy, water, waste, packaging, and brand impact. Case studies of anaerobic digestion and biomass heating describe GHG reductions up to 90%, which could be more widely adopted. Carbon zero looks possible, and parts of the supply chain could even become carbon negative in the medium term.

Keywords: sustainability, triple bottom line, carbon footprint, malting, brewing, strategy, water, waste, packaging, agriculture, utilities, energy, science-based targets, UN Sustainable Development Goals​