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:
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 we partnered with ClimatePartner to calculate our 2021 baseline carbon footprint. This ensures that the emission data is credible and accurate, as it was calculated according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol framework. Now we have the results, we can work towards developing an emission reduction strategy, based on the identified emission hotspots.
It is important to note that we rely on third parties when addressing many of these challenges, as we outsource most 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 to encourage less environmentally damaging choices throughout our entire supply chain. We discovered through calculating our carbon footprint that 99.8% of our emissions are categorised as Scope 3, which means that they are a result of indirect activities and assets. We must therefore work together with suppliers and service providers to adopt less environmentally damaging behaviour.
Here’s where our emissions come from:
We are identifying possible projects in these areas currently to see where we can enact the most impactful change in emissions. For instance, we are looking into increasing the percentage of recycled content in our kegs and reviewing our packaging to minimise material usage.
Keep an eye on this page to see our finalised emission reduction strategy as it develops!
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. Inappropriately disposing of the kegs and littering can cause damage to the environment.
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 cans can now be returned in the Netherlands as of April 2023.
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 also provide repair and refurbishment services for BLADE machines in the UK and are looking to expand this process to the Netherlands.
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 have recently developed a system to separate out our stock based on best before dates. This means that we can minimise beer being thrown away by offering promotions on beers with closer best before dates. This not only allows us to save money (and beer!) it also gives our customers an opportunity to grab their favourites at a discount.
Any beer in the UK that we don’t manage to sell before its expiration date is now being sent to Swancote Energy. This beer is used to create energy through a process called anaerobic digestion where biogas is created that can turn turbines, generating electricity. The leftover sludge from the process, called digestate, is then used as a fertiliser. This means that nothing goes to waste, and we give the beer a second life powering homes and farms across the UK. We are now looking to expand this project to our other warehouses in Europe. Read more about our biogas project here.
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. By the end of 2023, we hope to have collected enough data on returns to develop a strategy to achieve this goal.
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. PostNL, DPD group and DHL offset their emissions by investing in renewable energy projects by default. 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, such as delivery by bike.
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 have switched to using leaflets made from 100% recycled paper and are now using the recycled version of packing paper.
We also want to remove the last bit of plastic – the tape – from our packaging and are looking at the possibility of switching to 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, including members of management and leadership teams. We are also working actively 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.