As the Utilities Lead and the Site Energy Champion for HEINEKEN Ireland at our Leitrim Street brewery – where we have been sustainably brewing premium drinks for over 163 years – I am responsible for energy use in our production environment. This year, we have undertaken a number of significant projects aimed at saving energy and reducing emissions in key areas.
Last November, we at HEINEKEN became the first drinks company in the country to be awarded Business in the Community’s independently verified Business Working Responsibly Mark in recognition of our responsible business practises. That was a particularly proud day for our business: not alone did we receive the Mark, we also signed up to BITCI’s ambitious Carbon Pledge. As signatories of the Pledge we have committed to significant and meaningful carbon emission reductions by 2030.
Now, six months later, Business in the Community is publishing its first progress report which tracks what actions signatory companies have taken to fulfil the spirit of that pledge.
At HEINEKEN, the Pledge has truly set our course on sustainability in the first half of the year. Alongside our sustainability roadmap, our global Brewing a Better World strategy, it has functioned as our sustainability north star and we have been working really hard to ensure we live up to its ideals.
It’s for this reason that we are immensely proud to have been highlighted by Business in the Community as one of just four case-study companies setting an exemplary course on our Carbon Pledge journey.
In the work we’ve done on this to date, our focus has been on cutting emissions produced by electricity use at our brewery at Leitrim Street in Cork.
Our first major achievement in this respect was to ensure that all electricity used at our Leitrim Street brewery was sourced at the sustainable and carbon-free Raheen wind farm in Mayo.
On lighting, we worked with sustainability experts UrbanVolt to install a state-of-the-art LED lighting system throughout our Cork HQ. This new system saves as much energy in just one year as it takes to drive an average family car around the entire world almost three times. Beyond this truly significant energy saving, the new lighting delivers meaningful aesthetic and safety benefits for our employees - ensuring all areas of our large facility are well-lit and easy to navigate.
In our warehouse, we replaced our diesel powered forklift trucks with brand new electric ones. These save on as much carbon as  of family cars produce in a year.
Next week we release our sustainability report for 2018 which will detail the extensive work we undertook in the decade between 2008 and 2018 to achieve a 58% reduction in carbon emissions. As we look to the pledge and its 2030 deadline we are more determined than ever to double down on that work and to deliver an even greater reduction.
- Barry O’ Keeffe