26 Jun 2022

Development of current and historical datasets of beer raw materials for The Brewers of Europe 

Data to ensure well-founded product footprints  

The Brewers of Europe is the European brewer’s association and represents the interests of over 10,000 breweries in Europe. Sustainability is a priority topic of the Association. Previously, Blonk supported The Brewers of Europe with the development of the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for beer, which implements the European Commission’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology. The PEF lays down a framework of harmonised requirements and principles to measure the environmental impact of products, based on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. The Beer PEFCR is an important building block that helps brewers measure the sustainability of their specific products. Consistent data are needed alongside this to ensure well-founded product footprints. It is in this context that The Brewers of Europe invited Blonk to develop several footprint datasets, based on historical and current data.

Environmental footprinting and data

To enable breweries to establish meaningful product footprints data on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are needed. The EF3.0 LCA database of the European Commission developed for PEF implementation includes many of the grain crops relevant for European brewers and will be available before the end of 2022.

The Brewers of Europe expressed an interest in emissions/impact factors of all PEF impact factors for crops, and crop/country combinations that are not covered by the EF3.0 LCA database. These factors can be based on historical data, such as yields, land use change emissions and fertiliser application. Ultimately, these baselines can then be used by brewers to establish corporate emissions reduction targets.

Development of the datasets

To develop the datasets, Blonk collected historical and the most recent data from FAO and other public and primary sources. About 100 crop/country combinations were identified, including important beer raw materials such as barley, wheat, maize, cassava, and rice. Historical data was gathered on a yearly basis for the time period 1995-2018. On this basis the historical Life Cycle Inventories (LCIs) were created. With the help of the Blonk Crop Model, an internal tool developed by Blonk, data could be transferred into LCIs. The Crop Model also supported the calculation of on-field emissions, taking account of the emission factors for Greenhouse Gases as reported in the IPCC Assessment Report (AR) – version 6.

In total, Blonk developed approximately 2,400 datasets for The Brewers of Europe, focused on Global Warming and Land Use Change.

More about the PEFCR Beer

Beer PEFCR approved by the European Commission

On 20 April 2018 the Beer PEFCR was given the green light, following four years hard work by all the partners to develop a single European standard for the beer sector. It makes it possible to calculate the environmental footprint of beer in a clear and consistent way.

More information

Get in touch

Jasper Scholten
Director Consultancy

Please get in touch with Jasper if you would like to know more about this project or if you interested in the development of custom Life Cycle Assessment datasets.