Going Green: 4 Pines Brewing Company
The northern beaches beer company with a refreshing take on sustainability.
Most of us are more likely to associate beer with a barbeque or a relaxing weekend by the beach but – just like any other business – brewing companies can leave a mark on the environment too. From discarded bottle caps to by-product from the brewing process and even energy use within the brewery or taphouse, there are a lot of ways that beer can contribute to climate change.
4 Pines is a Sydney brewing company that's passionate about doing the right thing for the planet. In fact, the company has worked so hard on its green initiatives that it's one of only two brewing companies in Australia currently listed as a Certified B Corp – a title that is only earned by businesses with exceptional social and environmental performance, among other requirements (the other brewing company is Byron Bay's Stone and Wood).
To find out more about what 4 Pines does, we caught up with the company's sustainability policy and planning manager, Kiera Murphy.
What does your company do and how is it green?
We're a brewing company, so we brew beer and we run hospitality venues, to share our love of beer with as many people possible.
4 Pines Brewing Company was born over a decade ago from a casual conversation between a father and son, post-surf, who simply wanted an exceptional beer and options were limited. Our original Brew Pub in Manly was built on throwing convention out the window, using alternative methods to measure success and having fun while we did it.
We're ultimately committed to using business as a force for good and believe that all business ought to be conducted as if people and place matter.
In 2018, 4 Pines was listed as a B Corp Best For The World Honoree in the "Environment" category, for scoring in the top 10% of all B Corps globally when it comes to managing environmental impact.
For us, being "green" is about taking climate change seriously and taking responsibility for the environmental impact that our products and sites have, by taking action.
For example, we've implemented an organic waste stream across all 4 Pines-operated sites, including our hospitality venues. We divert over 95% of our organic waste from landfills, helping us get closer to our zero-waste dream.
So, here at 4 Pines, the core by-product [of the brewing process] is spent grain. It's an organic waste, so there's lots you can do with it. We donate the majority of our spent grain to farmers in need. It's a free source of nutritional feed for their livestock, which helps them make other investments into the wellbeing of their animals and the farm.
And our spent yeast is turned into a renewable energy source that's sold back to the grid. We've been doing that since we began brewing at Brookvale.
The green economy offers such a massive opportunity for businesses to thrive if they are part of the solution.
What inspires you and your business to be green?
For 4 Pines, sustainability, or our commitment to both environmental and social responsibility, was originally inspired by the world and people around us.
One of my favourite things is seeing mates enjoying our beer outside. And we want to make sure that we're brewing beer for many, many years to come so that those moments don't change.
Our original Brew Pub in Manly is down the street from a marine-protected sanctuary and it's not rare to find a co-worker or customer out in the surf or out on a trail in the bush… As part of our company-wide Save The Pines program, we take our staff out to participate in regular beach cleans.
Staff can sometimes find 4 Pines bottle caps or other litter associated with drinking culture.
It's an "ah-ha" moment for a lot of staff, when they pick-up a 4 Pines bottle cap, because they're experiencing one of the ways that our product makes an impact and understanding that the simple act of picking up that bottle cap makes a difference.
Our Save The Pines program helps us embed a culture of shared responsibility company-wide.
Why is being green personally important to you?
I've grown up in a world impacted by climate change and I don't take it lightly, but I'm still optimistic about the future. I also grew up loving the outside and was fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who taught me to leave a place better than I found it.
So, I'm incredibly passionate about inspiring others to act, in big and small ways. I always say, "don't let the perfect get in the way of the good." There's a place for everyone when it comes to going green. Every change makes an impact and even the smallest of actions to lead to doing better.
Could you describe one small step people could take towards being greener?
We can all have an impact if we make smarter and more responsible choices about the goods and services we buy… I recommend learning more about the B Corp movement by exploring the directory online.
The beer you drink, the bank you trust or jacket that keeps you warm could be helping you "go green".
What is one resource that you think people should read/watch/consume to understand more about sustainability and going green?
Visiting protected lands or ocean areas is anyone's best resource.
Experiencing nature is by far what will bring anyone a better understanding of why going green is so important.
But in regard to books, I have a signed copy of Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard that rarely leaves my side. And for those more interested in B Corp for their business, I recommend the second edition of The B Corp Handbook by Ryan Honeyman and Tiffany Jana.
Going Green is an interview series that sheds light on companies, organisations and initiatives that have a focus on sustainability and ethics. We ask a representative from each company the same five questions so you can get a snapshot of the work they are doing to help protect the planet.
Want more info and tips for making greener choices? Check out the Finder Green homepage.
Image credits: Getty Images, Supplied