Heineken launches low-carbon barley farming trial


Heineken has partnered with Yorkshire farmers and malt supplier Muntons by launching a new low-carbon barley-farming trial.  

According to the company, the trial will explore agricultural methods to make barley cultivation more sustainable and reduce the carbon emissions which come with farming the grain.  

It will start this autumn with 10 farmers in the first year of the scheme, who will sow approximately 7000 acres of spring and winter barley. 

The company said that the crop should produce 25,000 tonnes of grain, which is enough to brew 300 million pints of beer. 

According to the brewer, it will be experimenting  with more “less invasive” farming measures, inter-row cropping, cover crop mixes including clovers and oil radish, and optimisation of nitrogen usage. 

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The initiative comes as part of the brand’s 2040 low carbon funding programme, which focuses on lowering carbon emissions and capturing C02 in the soil. 

The partnership is set to help the company reach its target of a 33 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 against a 2018 baseline and achieve carbon neutrality across its value chain by 2040.  

“This trial is very much about ensuring we create a sustainable long term supply chain that benefits farmers, the planet and biodiversity,” Heineken supply chain director Matt Callan said. 

“Agriculture is the second biggest contributor of our carbon footprint and with our new ambition to hit carbon neutrality through our entire value chain by 2040, tackling this part of our footprint is key.” 

JS Scholes Farmers Sledmere representative Rachel Scholes added: “As a farming enterprise that has taken sustainability seriously for some time now, it is fantastic to see leadership on this issue from big brands looking to bridge the gap between producer and consumer. 

“With the trial covering a huge amount of acreage, it has the potential to generate some really positive outcomes for the environment and demonstrate farming’s vital role in mitigating climate change.”  

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