COP26: Breweries call on world leaders to respond to climate crisis

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/sereypeterman
Pic:getty/sereypeterman

Related tags: Beer, Craft beer, Uk, Guinness, Ireland, Diageo

A coalition of 25 breweries across the UK and Ireland – including Guinness and Adnams – have signed an open letter calling on world leaders to work together to combat the climate crisis.

Each of the breweries has launched a beer using surplus bread for the limited-edition Companion Series, highlighting how reducing food waste can be a key measure in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“One of the fastest and most equitable measures to tackle the crisis is to reduce food waste,”​ they say in the open letter. “Food systems are responsible for one-third of GHG emissions and 80% of deforestation. However, one-third of the world’s food is never eaten, which means the land and resources used and greenhouse gases emitted in producing it were unnecessary.”

'Laying down the gauntlet'

Toast Ale, who coordinated the series and letter, has been brewing with bread in this way since the company was founded in 2015. They have supplied pre-prepared surplus crumb and shared expertise with their fellow breweries.

In the letter, the breweries say they are ‘laying down the gauntlet’ for world governments to follow their lead and to collaborate in order to combat the climate emergency. Participating breweries range from household names such as Guinness to smaller, independent breweries such as Fyne Ales, a family-owned Scottish farm brewery in Argyll.

“We’re competing businesses but we are uniting because the climate and nature crisis is bigger than us all. The word ‘companion’, from the Latin ‘com’ (together with) and ‘panis’ (bread), represents the need for collaboration,”​ say the breweries. “To solve this systemic problem, we need systemic change, and that needs everyone who can to co-operate and work together.”

In partnership with the Rainforest Trust UK and Soil Heroes, the Companion Series will raise at least £65,000 ($89,405) for conservation and regenerative agriculture projects.

Proceeds from sales will protect 3.25 million trees in threatened tropical rainforests, and support UK farmers to capture 360 tonnes of CO2 by replenishing the health of soils.

The breweries participating in the Companion Series, all of whom are signatories to the open letter, are as follows: Toast Ale, Adnams, Beavertown, Bedlam Brewery, Better World Brewery, Brixton Brewery, Five Points Brewery, Fyne Ales, Guinness, Harbour Brewery, Hepworth Brewery, Ignition Brewery, Meantime, Northern Monk, Orbit, Sambrooks, Signature Brew, Stroud Brewery, Tap Social Movement, Tooth & Claw Brewing, Unity BrewIng Co, Utopian Brewery, Wild Card Brewery, Windsor & Eton Brewery and Wold Top Brewery.

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, between October 31 and November 12.  

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