the greatest proportion of a malting barley carbon footprint is scope 3 at approximately 60% and the biggest contributor to that is the scope 3 upstream emissions from raw material (barley) sourcing. it is worthwhile engaging with farms to establish what can be done to reduce this. Data from our monitoring programme has shown around 30% reduction in its scope 3 carbon footprint over the past 12 years. the most significant contributor to that reduction has been the development and use of abated nitrogen fertilisers. Attention then focused on minimising the input of inorganic fertilisers and use of cover cropping. this analysis is what drives the involvement of many brewers and distillers to show an interest in the impact and availability of raw materials and the contribution they make to beer right back at farm level. We are pleased to be a lead maltster in many programs to reduce carbon emissions in brewing, distilling and supply of food ingredients.
The specific value for malting barley production can be greater where it is made in environments in which refrigeration is necessary. It is also affected by where the barley is sourced from (17% potential increase) and if abated nitrogen fertilizer is not used (20–40% potential increase). If the heating technology used is entirely low carbon this value will dramatically fall by as much as 75–90%, depending on the technology adopted. This level of understanding of carbon footprint has proven valuable in discussions with supply chain partners concerned about the accuracy and variability of carbon data for embedded carbon in malt that we supply.
The area we will see much more focus on is scope 3 emissions. For many companies scope 3 can represent as much as 90% of its carbon footprint. For malting barley, the figure is around 60-65%. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol has established four levels of certainty for emissions defined as going from most accurate to least:
1) supplier specific method 2) Hybrid method
3) Average data method 4) spend-based method.
For malt the largest part of scope 3 is upstream hence supplier-based methods are best and can track changes in farm practice methods. Scope 3 upstream for most maltings will be largely about barley growing and there are several calculators available for that purpose. It is important to use one that considers all factors and references the most up to date internationally agreed conversion factors. That could remain a contentious issue as even averages on a country or continent basis can be quite different to those calculated specifically on farm, but that’s not insurmountable and if its defined in your scope it is transparent. In this category we have, through attention to malting barley carbon foot printing, achieved over 30% reduction in barley carbon footprint over 12 years. The biggest contributor to that reduction has been the development of abated nitrogen fertilisers which reduce the impact on fertilisers applied by around 40%. Muntons require our suppliers to use abated nitrogen fertiliser where they use solid applications. For liquid variants, this does not have the same impact. In addition, our farmers are supported to minimise their inputs to barley growing through the education and peer to peer learning that is made possible through our Sustainable Futures farming group.
It is important to recognise the impact of materiality in data accuracy for carbon modelling. Use of a financial model as permitted by the GHG reporting guidelines estimates scope 3 downstream at 3%. Thus, the potential for significant leeway in estimating data is much less critical for a small contributory part of the overall footprint and a financial model is adequate. For scope 1 and scope 2 data these are highly accurate based on invoiced consumption and other recorded data. Using a reputable carbon calculator for barley is essential to be certain of the 60% contribution to overall footprint and this is the area that we have focused on intensely for the past 15 years.
Muntons has made significant reductions in all three carbon footprint scopes in the past 10 years achieving almost a third reduction already but with much more to come in the next few years.
Data in this table is for our malt and malted ingredients operations combined. Progress on malting alone is shown in the graph below.