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For leading Australasian brewer Lion, 2019 was a watershed. For more than a decade the company had been implementing a range of sustainability initiatives, but last year saw an acceleration of its commitments. Kim Berry reports.

Last November, Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said the company was “pulling every carbon abatement lever available”. 

His announcement was the latest in a series of environmental commitments made over the previous decade, culminating in the company’s carbon abatement plans. 

For Lion’s group environment director Justin Merrell, Irvine’s bold statement echoed what drew him to the company 18 months earlier. 

Merrell told Food & Drink Business that in Lion, he saw a company transparent about its environmental credentials with some runs on the board but keen to do more and step into an industry leadership role. 

Laying down the foundation

When Merrell joined Lion in mid-2018, there were already a number of major energy efficiency commitments the company had made in its breweries and engineering. 

Irvine says Lion is on track to meet its target of 30 per cent carbon reduction by 2025 over its 2015 baseline thanks to its “whole of brewery” carbon reduction approach. 

That approach incorporates energy efficiency, biogas usage, rooftop solar, renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs), as well as providing brewers grain to reduce livestock emissions.

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