Heineken UK is to reduce its carbon footprint by 30,000 tonnes a year — the equivalent of taking 21,650 cars off the road — after investing £35m in two new biomass plants at its Manchester and Tadcaster breweries.
The biomass plants burn locally sourced wood chip to generate steam and electricity and will have the capability to burn spent grain at a later date.
The plants have been fully operational since October and will produce 37,000 MWh of electrical energy per year — enough to supply all of the site's power requirements with any excess energy produced being be sold back to the National Grid.
"The launch of our biomass plant at Royal Brewery is a key milestone in Heineken UK's commitment to mitigating the impact of climate change," said Heineken UK managing director Stefan Orlowski.
"Our new plant both here in Manchester and in Tadcaster will significantly reduce carbon emissions and provide us with renewable energy generated and used on site.
"Our investment in these plants builds on an already strong environmental record and we have recognised energy and climate change as a critical business issue for several years, reducing our carbon emissions by 14% since 2004.
"We have many effective initiatives in place — we've been working with the Carbon Trust on carbon footprinting and labelling, we will be planting approximately 400,000 new apple trees in our contract growers' orchards in Herefordshire between 2009 and 2011, and we are working hard to help our pub lessees reduce their energy usage.
"We are continuously looking for more ways to further improve our environmental record to build a sustainable future for our business."