Darling Brew, a craft brewery based in the town of Darling in the Western Cape, has been officially declared as Africa’s first carbon neutral brewery.

The brewery is expected to offset a total of 687.96 tons of CO2 over the next year. This will be equivalent to having eliminated the same amount of carbon from the environment as 17 829 tree seedlings having grown for 10 years.

In order to become Africa’s first carbon neutral brewery, Darling Brew has calculated their carbon footprint by means of a greenhouse gas audit. This carbon footprint is then offset through impactChoice, a provider of end-to-end environmental sustainability solutions, who also ensure the emissions are offset via responsible carbon capturing and reduction projects.

In 2016, Darling Brew released Africa’s first carbon neutral beer, Blood Serpent, with the intention of later extending it across the range. Blood Serpent was seen as a catalyst within the African beer industry, especially towards decarbonisation and company buy-in for carbon neutrality. The beer was celebrated for being an innovation, not only within the craft beer industry, but towards sustainability in Africa.

Darling Brew has been on their sustainability journey since opening in 2010, when they created their line of craft beers which drive awareness on animal conservation in Africa. “It’s not about doing what we like with our operations and just offsetting our impact,” says Kevin Wood, owner and founder of Darling Brew, “It’s about our commitment to continuously reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible whilst using the offsetting process as a way of further redressing our impact.”

In order to ensure that the brewery is reducing its impact, Darling Brew have teamed up with sustainability consultants Ecolution Consulting who, in addition to guiding the brewery through the carbon offsetting process, are working with Darling Brew to reduce the water and energy consumption, as well as the brewery’s waste to landfill percentage. “We are identifying short and long-term strategies to ensure that Darling Brew continues to travel further along their sustainability journey,” says André Harms, sustainability engineer and founder of Ecolution Consulting. “This started with the procedure of tracking and recording consumption and waste data to ensure that real progress is being made.”

The brewery has recently taken to openly and prominently displaying the month to month statistics on their water, waste, energy and carbon use  in the hopes of including Darling Brew’s patrons in the journey and spreading awareness.

In addition to the carbon offsetting and consumption tracking, Darling Brew have implemented a series of green initiatives in the brewery that includes water efficient fittings, waterless urinals, ongoing recycling and food waste management and the use of upcycled furniture and recycled wood in the brewery and tasteroom area. “We are excited to progress on this journey,” says Kevin Wood. “Going carbon neutral is a massive step for us, but certainly not the last.”

More About the Carbon Offsetting Process

In order to simplify how much impact humans have on the environment, environmentalists have equated all impacts to one measurable yardstick: carbon emissions. Carbon emissions refer to the amount of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity, such as burning of fossil fuels. This is measured in metric tons of CO2.

impactChoices’ technology provides a unique solution that enables Darling Brew to apportion these emissions through their brewing process and then mitigate these through the purchase of certified Carbon Credits resulting in a carbon neutral brewery and line of beers.

The financial benefits of these Carbon Credit purchases are received by The Kariba REDD+ project in Northern Zimbabwe, which works with communities to rehabilitate forests and through sustainable farming practices whilst ensuring gender parity and social upliftment. REDD+ is an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the carbon offsets carbon offsets are validated by the Verified Carbon Standard, the Gold Standard and the Plan Vivo.