Sustainability at Beerwulf
On our way to reducing our environmental impact
At Beerwulf, we are passionate about bringing you great beer straight to your door, but we want to be environmentally conscious while doing so. Becoming more sustainable is a huge challenge, and that’s why we want to get this topic on our radar early.
We want to start thinking about eco-friendly solutions and putting together a timeline of concrete targets as we grow. But we know that this topic isn’t just important to us, it’s also important to you - and that’s why we want to share our journey with you, so you can see how we’re learning and improving. We know we’re not perfect yet, but by being transparent and open, we plan on staying motivated and taking meaningful actions.
Our vision is to become a low-impact option for ordering online and experiencing beer at home.
As an e-commerce business, we face many environmental challenges. These include our current linear economy (making a product, the products being used, the products being binned), our greenhouse gas emissions, the waste produced throughout our supply chain etc.
We will be taking on these challenges from two directions:
It is important to note that we rely a lot on third parties when addressing these challenges, as we outsource many of our operations. This means that we are not solely in control of all the choices being made and must work together with external actors and encourage less environmentally damaging choices throughout our entire supply chain.
Read about our Steps to Sustainability below to see what actions we have taken, are going to take soon, and hope to take, to address these challenges.
We will provide updates on our progress every 6 months, so stay tuned for more information soon!
To tackle emissions head on, we need data. That’s why our next step will be to find an external party to work with us to get accurate and credible carbon emission data. We are currently having ongoing discussions with potential partners who can help us do this. This will help us figure out where to reduce emissions to maximise positive outcomes and set time-bound, realistic reduction targets.
Once we have this data, we will release an actionable sustainability roadmap!
Our kegs are currently made of PET plastic. To recycle them, please check the options of your local waste management and find out about collection services and recycling options as this differs per country and region.
To encourage more people to recycle, Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) are slowly being introduced across Europe. In fact, in Germany it is already possible to use the DRS (Pfand System) for our 2L kegs and we are using Der Grüne Punkt to pick up the larger kegs.
Extending products’ lifetimes is a step in the right direction towards circularity. We want to extend the lifetime of our machines to reduce landfill waste and emissions from the manufacturing process. To extend the lifetime of our SUBs we offer repair services – just in case your SUB develops a fault. We will also be providing a repair service, and even refurbishment, of Blade machines in the UK in 2022. We hope to extend this circular Blade machine system to all countries offering Blades by 2023.
You can also do your bit to close the loop:
At Beerwulf, we hate throwing away beer, and one of the many reasons we hate doing it is because it’s a waste of all the energy and resources that have gone into making it. We try to prevent beer being thrown away by pushing promotions on beers nearing their expiration dates through discounts and our “zero waste” packs.
We have just begun an exciting new project – we are trying to find a less wasteful way to deal with expired beer rather than simply disposing of it. At the moment, we are looking at whether expired beer can be used to produce renewable energy – how cool would that be? Look out for the next update to see how this project progresses.
We’re happy to say that our return rate is only around 1%, lower than the average e-commerce return rate which is currently around 20% (1,2,3). But then, who would want to return a pack of our delicious beer? Minimising the number of returns is great for the environment by stopping unnecessary transport emissions and preventing products from being wasted. We hope to get the number of returns even lower. Throughout 2022 we will be gathering more data about returns, in hopes of developing a data-based strategy to achieve this.
If a product is returned, and it can be guaranteed that it has not been opened or tampered with; we will restock the product to avoid unnecessary wastage.
Our transport is made up of two main stretches: the inbound stretch (from the brewer to the warehouse) and the last mile (from the warehouse to you).
You can see our last mile carriers on the map. The emissions from PostNL, DPD group and DHL are already being offset, and we are hoping to use our carriers’ carbon neutral delivery options for all countries in the future. We also hope to provide you all with a second, sustainable delivery option with a no/low emission carrier as soon as it is feasible for us. Our plan is to achieve all this by 2030.
We are investigating how to reduce emissions from our inbound stretch, with trains being looked at as an alternative to the fossil fuel powered trucks. We are also exploring ways in which our supply chain can be optimised, by looking at where we are sourcing products from to reduce travel miles.
Our cardboard packaging is made by Smurfit Kappa, with whom our relationship has sustainability as a core focus. In May 2022, Beerwulf was invited to be the case study in the Smurfit Kappa Young Masterclass “Open the Future of Beerwulf”, during which we collaborated to find potential sustainable solutions across Beerwulf’s entire supply chain.
We are constantly working towards improving the packaging and making it better for our customers and less damaging to the planet. We want to decrease our packaging's impact by addressing both circularity and emissions challenges. Looking at how we can reduce the amount of material used is an ongoing process, which will decrease emissions by increasing our material efficiency.
We also want to remove the last bit of plastic – the tape – from our packaging and are looking at the possibility of switching to a paper-based tape. Plastic tape cannot be recycled, unlike some paper tapes, therefore our current option is not circular.
We try our best to celebrate diversity and inclusion at Beerwulf. We have a Diversity and Inclusion Manifesto that encourages understanding, acceptance, and value of differences between people.
Currently at Beerwulf, we have a 50/50 gender balance, with two of the six senior management members being women, including our CEO. We are very proud that the leader of our Pack, Cindy Tervoort, is setting the precedent of female CEOs in the beer industry. We have also tried to showcase female brewers through our blog content (check it out), on our Instagram and through internal beer tastings with female brewers.
We are also very international with currently well over 20 nationalities represented within our team. Making sure that every employee feels celebrated within Beerwulf is paramount to us, and therefore is a key part of our HR team’s goals for the coming years.
At Beerwulf, we do not support excessive drinking and stand for responsible and moderate consumption. We have a range of alcohol-free beers for everyone to choose from, both on home draught and in our beer cases. For more information on the HEINEKEN Group’s stance on this issue, look here.