Eco Update: AB InBev Inks Historic Solar Deal, Symington Gets Green

By Neat Pour Staff |

A couple big sustainability announcements came out of Europe this week. Big Beer standard bearer AB InBev finalized a deal to power all of their European brewing operations with 100% renewable energy. On the port side of things, Symington Family Estates seeded a new fund to promote sustainability in the Douro.

AB InBev Going 100% Solar

AB InBev, parent company to some 400 brands including Budweiser and Corona, signed a ten year contact energy developer BayWa r.e to power 14 Western European breweries distributing to 12 countries. The deal was billed as “the largest Pan-European corporate solar power deal in history.

To achieve such lofty goal, two large solar fields will be constructed inSpain. According to BayWa r.e, the facilities will produce a total of nearly 200 megawatts of power, of which 130 megawatts will be supplied to the brewers. A release explained that’s enough energy to power over a million European homes or over 200,000 stadium football matches.

As a bonus, the beer giant is also going to get some marketing out of it. A massive, 250 gigawatt field in Spain will be named ‘Budweiser Solar Farm.’

“As a brewer, we rely on natural ingredients – water, hops, barley and yeast – to make our beers, so we know that sustainability is not just part of our business, it is our business,” said AB InBev Zone President for Europe Jason Warner in a statement. “From recycling CO2 released in the brewing process to eliminating plastic from our packaging, we are constantly looking to not only reduce our environmental impact but to have a net positive effect.

The ambitious project is scheduled to be complete by March 2022. However, BayWa r.e will begin supplying AB InBev with partial power from existing facilities in the short term.

Symington’s New Fund

Symington Family Estates, an OG of the Port “English Houses,” is commemorating the 200th anniversary of Graham’s Port and the 350th anniversary of Warre’s Port by making an investment in the future. This week, Symington announced the creation of the Symington Impact Fund with one million euro seed.

“We have always sought to run our family business in a way that benefits people – be they our employees or the wider community. We are also committed to protecting the beautiful natural environments where we produce our wines. We have consistently reinvested in the Douro region and have a long history of supporting social initiatives in the areas where we work,” said CEO Rupert Symington in a statement. “The Symington Impact Fund is a way of formalizing this commitment and ensuring we support projects which are most aligned with our values and where we can have the maximum positive impact.”

The fund will focus on ecological, cultural, and community preservation in the the Douro and Greater Porto regions as well as the Alto Alentejo. Partner groups include Volunteer Emergency Services of the Douro region and Bagos d’Ouro (a NPO focused on education for underprivileged children in the Douro). In addition, a yet-to-be named sustainability partner will form the initiative’s third prong.

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