Australian drinks giants switch to renewable electricity: ‘Speed is of the essence in addressing climate change’

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Jacob's Creek owner Pernod Ricard Winemakers has installed solar panels at its Barossa Valley wineries.
Jacob's Creek owner Pernod Ricard Winemakers has installed solar panels at its Barossa Valley wineries.

Related tags Wine Beer Sustainability Australia

This month Pernod Ricard's Australian wineries have switched to 100% renewable electricity; while Lion has pledged to use renewable electricity to brew all its beers by 2025.

Pernod Ricard, whose brands include Jacob's Creek, St Hugo and Wyndham Estate, has become the first large wine company in Australia to achieve 100% renewable electricity. This is thanks to the completion of the country’s largest combined winery solar installation and a 10-year agreement to source renewable electricity.

Energy company AGL has installed more than 10,300 solar panels across the company's two Barossa Valley wineries, with a predicted annual generation of 4,000 megawatt-hours, enough to power the equivalent of nearly 800 South Australian homes.  

Brett McKinnon, Pernod Ricard Winemakers' chief operations officer, said: "Being sustainable and responsible is an important part of our business, particularly as producers of wine - a product that takes its character from the land where it was grown. We want to minimise our impact on the communities where we operate, responding to the local climate and preserving the environment for future generations to come.

"Our journey began in 2016 with a pilot solar installation after we recognised that we had a huge opportunity across our wineries to harness the power of the sun through solar panels. Three years later, we are exceptionally proud to say that we are now sourcing all electricity from renewable sources, in alignment with our global ambition.”

Kirin-owned Lion – one of the biggest brewers in Australia with brands including Furphy, XXXX GOLD, Tooheys New, Little Creatures and Kosciuszk – has announced it will use 100% renewable electricity for brewing all its beers by 2025. This follows on from its recent pledge to become Australasia’s first major carbon neutral brewer in 2020.

Announced in November, Lion’s ambitions to become Australia’s first major carbon neutral brewer by combining its carbon reduction program with certified carbon credits to offset the remaining footprint.

In carbon reduction, it is on track to meet its target of reducing its footprint by 30% by 2025 from a 2015 baseline: through improving energy efficiency and using biogas and rooftop solar among other initiatives.

As of 2020, 107,000 tonnes of carbon will be offset by Lion: with projects through Tasman Environmental Management to be announced earlier next year. These will focus on bush regeneration and conversation projects that cut carbon emissions and protect habitat for native wildlife.

This month Lion has added on its 100% renewable electricity pledge for its beers.

Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said: “Lion is proud to be extending its reliance on renewable electricity as a key component of maintaining Climate Active certified carbon neutral operations.

“Lion is now proudly pulling every carbon abatement lever available. Not only have we committed to sourcing all our electricity from renewable sources to lower our emissions, but we are offsetting our remaining organisational footprint to put us in a carbon neutral position.

“We have been on this journey for quite some time, but speed is of the essence in addressing climate change. While we work towards our 2025 renewable electricity target, in the meantime our remaining emissions will be offset through a portfolio of verified projects focusing on bush regeneration and conservation projects that both cut carbon emissions and protect vital habitat and food sources for native wildlife.”

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