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A sustainability movement is brewing in the Northern Beaches

4 Pines is an Australian brewing company which began in Manly.

Established in 2008, the company have expanded their range of beers to a core range of eight as well as developing one-off small batch brews. The original brew pub in Manly is still in operation, with venues now also in Brookvale, Newport, and Surry Hills. 4 Pines’ beers are now shipped throughout Australia.

Issue

Developing a business which connected with the community and focused on environmental sustainability stemmed from the very ideation of 4 Pines Brewing Company.

As the company’s beer production increased and export expanded past the local market, this resulted in the product being transported across the country.

Keira Murphy, former Sustainability Policy & Planning Manager notes that: “…Brewing beer takes a toll on the environment. We have to take responsibility for that and always ask ourselves, “How can we do better here?”

Rising production meant an increase in the amount of waste generation and this problem was tackled by 4 Pines head on.

Program Development

4 Pines are committed to serving the people and environment around two key programs:

  1. Save the Pines
  2. 1 for the Community

These programs have operated as platforms to involve the company’s employees and wider community to increase the awareness of sustainability.

Specifically, the Save the Pines program incorporates sustainability driven goals through partnerships within the community.

Additionally, 4 Pines became B Corp Certified in 2017, which has led to the following:

  • The business meets the highest standard of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
  • One of B Corps Best for the World for Environment in 2018 and 2019.
  • 4 Pines are constantly considering their environmental impact and developing and implementing actions to reduce this.

Minimising environmental and social impact has always been at the forefront of 4 Pines’ business model, where significant reductions have been made through numerous waste minimisation efforts.

Targets

Each year, 4 Pines set environmental reduction targets. For 2019, their target was to reduce waste going to landfill by 33% and have a 100% upcycling rate of brewery by-products.

To reach these targets, 4 Pines consistently works to develop ideas which push past the norm. This takes place both in house and externally with other individuals and companies. The outcome includes creative strategies in which they can reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Some of the programs that have stemmed from this are outlined below.

Actions, outcomes and future plans

Action 1: Carbon Positive Brew

Australia currently send in excess of three million tonnes of edible food to landfill each year. Together with Edge Environment, a sustainability consultancy, the “The Upcycle Ale” was developed, which utilises excess bread and has a smaller carbon footprint than conventionally brewed beer. This was achieved by:

  • Forming a partnership with local business, Brasserie Bread, to utilise their surplus bread for the production of beer.
  • Forming a partnership with local business, Provance Flour and Malt, who supply flour to Brasserie Bread and malt to 4 Pines.
  • Purchasing carbon credits to offset the productions emissions.

Outcome

As a result of the efforts of the many local businesses involved in development of the Upcycle Ale, the beer:

  • has zero greenhouse gas emissions, making it 4 Pines’ first carbon neutral beer
  • is sourced from local materials
  • minimises waste production.

Action 2: 4 Pines + Ocean Friendly

Surfrider Foundation Australia is a registered NFP who aim to protect Australian beaches through conservation, activism, research, and education. 4 Pines have entered into a collaboration with Surfrider Foundation to reduce unnecessary waste.

Outcome

Through their collaboration with the Surfrider Foundation, 4 Pines now:

  • Work with suppliers to find alternatives to polystyrene.
  • Ban plastic straws and source paper straws.
  • Provide reusable dinnerware and nonplastic utensils when needed.
  • Provide water taps so the use of plastic water bottles are eliminated and
  • Do not provide plastic bags for take away orders.

Action 3: Bag One O’ These

4 Pines upcycle the malt bags left over from the brewing process into reusable carry bags. This was achieved through creating a partnership with Macleay Options, a not-for profit (NFP) community-based organisation.

Outcome

4 Pines have been able to divert waste to land fill and also support a local NFP.

Action 4: Beer Bones

Through discussions with a regular at the Manly Brew Pub, a use for spent grain (residual barley malt produced from the brewing process) was found. Craft Beer Bones was created, which is a company that recycles the grain from 4 Pines into dog bones.

Outcome

This partnership resulted in:

  • A reduction of waste being sent to landfill.
  • The creation of another sustainable business in the Northern Beaches area.

Future plans

It is through the ability to develop specific actions that 4 Pines have created a culture which supports the push for environmental and social excellence. In turn, the commitment to search for alternative methods and the development of creative solutions will continue to allow 4 Pines to enhance their sustainability and further minimise waste production going forward.