16 May 2022

DB Breweries is making meaningful changes to actively reduce its carbon footprint rather than just buying carbon offsets. Parent company HEINEKEN Global has committed to have net zero production emissions by 2030, and DB aims to have net zero emissions, balance 100 per cent of the water used in production and ensure no waste gets sent to landfill – all by 2030.  

DB’s Brewing a Better New Zealand programme integrates sustainability into everything it does, right across the value chain from barley to hops through to end customer experiences.  

As part of that, DB is moving its production process heat away from fossil fuels. This is a large and complex undertaking given each site is different, with differing processes and unique surrounding infrastructure and businesses.  

Shift from coal 

DB’s site in Timaru has switched to biomass-derived steam.

Its steam provider, Pioneer Energy, is tapping a viable local supply of biomass that meets HEINEKEN’s stringent sourcing standards. 

October 2021 marked a significant milestone in the group’s efforts to decarbonise the brewery’s purchased steam. From the beginning of that month, all steam at the Timaru brewery has been 100 per cent fuelled by sustainable biomass, instead of coal.

A smooth transition means there has been no impact on production performance.  

Waitematā, DB’s largest production site in Auckland, has an on-site natural gas-fired boiler and biomass is in short supply in the Auckland region, making the switch more complicated. DB has engaged with a multi-functional group of stakeholders to better understand the options for decommissioning the gas-fired  boiler and replacing it with a renewable alternative.

Through an Energy Transition Accelerator project and with help from EECA, DB received a grant from the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund in April. That GIDI funding was put towards a high temperature electric heat pump to start reducing natural gas use. 


In 2020, process heat accounted for almost 70 per cent of DB’s carbon footprint.

By the end of 2022, this will fall to just over 50 per cent of DB’s total production emissions thanks to Timaru’s production emissions being reduced by around 98 per cent.

This transition to biomass-generated steam at Timaru site cut emissions there by the equivalent of 260 tonnes in October 2021 alone. The abatement forecast for 2022 is a further 2500 tonnes.

DB is now shifting its focus to its Waitematā brewery’s process heat.

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