Sustainable Drinking: Making Beer With a Conscience

We love to highlight companies that are doing good on Care2. Today, our focus is on sustainable brew — specifically the people behind the label of New Belgium beers.

New Belgium Brewery’s dedication to a high involvement culture and a loving, informed workforce sets them apart in a number of ways:

Open Company Culture

New Belgium practices open book management, allowing coworkers access to company financials and management’s decision-making processes. Their annual company retreat brings together all 570 coworkers for several days. Each coworker is essentially an Employee Owner who helps make decisions about the upcoming year’s business plan, celebrate successes and reconnect with the New Belgium’s vision.

Conserving Water

Water conservation can be challenging for a company that depends heavily on water to produce a quality product. To ensure no water goes to waste, New Belgium recently installed over 20 water submeters throughout their facility to identify and address areas for water efficiency improvement in their production process.

Sustainable Purchasing

New Belgium strives to be a sustainable business role model, working with vendors who are accountable for the environmental impact of sourcing, making, and selling their products.  These companies measure and minimize the environmental footprint of their operations and products, taking into account transportation, packaging, waste, energy, toxic substances, water and CO2 emissions.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New Belgium is trying to find ways to decrease their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By following globally accepted guidelines (WRI’s GHG Protocol and BIER’s Beverage Sector Guidance) for their GHG Accounting, they have estimates for the total emissions associated with making and delivering their beer. Their Goal: Reduce CO2e per hectoliter of beer sold as much as 25 percent by 2015.

Reducing Waste

Working hard to divert, reuse or eliminate waste, New Belgium diverted 99.9 percent of their waste from landfills. Their goals are to minimize ecosystem damage from resource extraction and aid in preserving Earth’s ecosystems for future generations. They’re also currently in the midst of a brewery-wide waste stream audit, with hopes to become a certified Zero Waste facility. They’re diving deeper into the fate of their recycled products with the help of Waste Not Recycling.

Natural Resource Management Team

On a monthly basis, leaders and co-workers from New Belgium’s engineering, facilities, sustainability, PR, maintenance and production departments identify and implement projects that could reduce the consumption of precious natural resources.  They focus primarily on water, electricity and natural gas usage, as well as GHG emissions.  The energy and water efficiency projects are carried out through New Belgium’s Internal Energy Tax, which is money set aside each year to ensure that efficiency improvements will have the financial resources necessary to implement them.

Save the Colorado

The Save the Colorado campaign was initiated by New Belgium and the Clean Water Fund in 2009. As part of a coalition of seven sustainably driven companies and foundations, New Belgium donates money, raises awareness, and advocates for policies to promote water conservation and protect the threatened Colorado River, which over 30 million people depend upon for food, water and energy.

Giving Back

As far back as 1995, New Belgium began donating $1 for every barrel of beer sold to non-profit organizations in the communities where their beers were sold. New Belgium has donated more than $6 million through grant programs, and in 2014, co-workers donated over 2,500 hours of volunteer time to their community.  The Wetlands Initiative is an example of their grant dollars at work. There’s also Beer Scouts, an interdepartmental group that sponsors volunteer events for coworkers and community members. Aligned with New Belgium’s values, the scouts helped log over 10,300 volunteer hours of coworker time in the past four years.



Sue H
Sue H6 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Nang Hai C
Nang Hai C2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Chun Lai T
Chun Lai T2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn2 years ago

Many thanks to you ! I

Juliana D.
Juliana D3 years ago


Warren Webber
Warren Webber3 years ago

Live long and prosper!

Bernie 2016!

David Thieke
David Thieke4 years ago

Thanks for sharing this . New Belgium sounds like a good company !

Jim Ven
Jim Ven4 years ago

thank you for the interesting article.

Angela K.
Angela K4 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Freya H.
Freya H4 years ago

I love my beer, and I'm glad that some breweries are going green.