Page 19 - Food & Drink March 2020
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No roof to spare, Lion takes its solar commitment seriously at its XXXX brewery.
shifting into sustainability leadership but were also insistent on doing it the right way,” he says.
“We identified projects that translated to community benefits as well as environmental benefits, so not just offsetting carbon, even though that is fundamental but finding projects that bring communities together in the name of environmental management.”
Merrell says that to do that, a company needs to find a credible carbon offset partner to work with.
remaining emissions will be offset through a portfolio of verified projects focusing on bush regeneration and conservation projects that both cut carbon emissions and protect vital habitat and food sources for native wildlife.”
Merrell explains that 10 years ago environmental initiatives were on the fringe, but senior leaders in organisations are now much more aware of the importance of robust environment management.
“We have started to see the commercial benefits of long-term
“ We are achieving carbon abatement while securing economic and social benefits for the broader community. From a leadership perspective, it has to be about a positive impact. It is now about going beyond.”
In New South Wales, the company is the anchor partner in a world-first industry-scale aggregated renewable PPA, that covers its production sites and offices in the state.
The PPA allows other members of the Australian Hotels Association to also sign-on, allowing them to avoid expensive retail energy prices.
For Merrell, this is an example of Lion taking an extra step with its initiatives. “The PPA is a three-way win for our customers, and therefore the communities in which they operate, the environment, and Lion.
“Our customers – pubs and clubs – are often at the centre of their communities.
“As we have seen following the recent bushfire crisis, and various other natural disasters in recent years, in remote and rural towns, they serve as a meeting place for people and play a key role in addressing isolation and loneliness.
“As they experience rising
electricity costs, their viability is impacted, so this PPA will make a real difference to their operating costs, and ultimately their ability to keep serving their communities.”
These programs, among others, have already cut Lion’s carbon footprint by 13 per cent, or around 13,000 tonnes, putting it on track to meet its 2025 commitment.
Merrell says: “From this base, there’s only one place left to amplify your commitment, and that is achieving carbon neutrality. Once you make that decision, it signals a shift beyond the more common approaches of renewable energy initiatives like solar.”
Merrell told Food & Drink Business how important it is for Lion to identify projects that had community benefits as well as environmental ones.
“Stuart [Irvine] and the direct leadership team fostered very positive conversations on
Merrell’s time at Qantas had resulted in a strong working relationship with Tasman Environmental Markets.
“I knew their capabilities. They are out in the field talking to land owners, observing savannah management and other conservation initiatives. They get to know these projects intimately and understand the positive impacts they have, not just on the environment but at a community-level as well.
“I’ve worked in environmental management for more than a decade, and I think it has been a revelation to others at Lion just how authentic and genuine its processes have been and how well positioned they were to take the next step.”
Lion will soon announce its portfolio of projects, which it has indicated will cover a broad range of strategies, including further renewable electricity commitments, water stewardship and new partnerships with NGOs.
Irvine says that while Lion has been working on its environmental programs
for some time, “speed is of
the essence. While we work towards our 2025, one hundred per cent renewable electricity target, in the meantime our
environmental commitments, particularly for companies who have shown genuine leadership in environmental sustainability. Another benefit is its contribution to attracting and retaining talent.”
“When you look at the last six to twelve months, there has been an exponential increase in awareness and activism, seen by companies upweighting their environmental initiatives and distancing themselves from fossil fuel,” Merrell says.
“For instance, BlackRock – the world’s largest fund manager stepping back from thermal coal investments – provides a very clear message on community and investor expectations.”
For Merrell, we are witnessing the move beyond environmental compliance and shifting to one of net zero impact and beyond.
“If companies want to show leadership and succeed, that is the space in which to play. That’s the direction we are taking with our carbon offset projects. We are achieving carbon abatement while securing economic and social benefits for the broader community. From a leadership perspective, it has to be about a positive impact. It is now about going beyond.” ✷
Lion was ranked #4 in our
Australia’s Top 100 Food & Drink Companies 2019 report. | March 2020 | Food&Drink business | 19

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