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Case Study Example - New Belgium Brewing: Ethical and Environmental Responsibility

4 pages
976 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Case study
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The New Belgium brewing company addresses three key environmental issues which are recycling and reuse strategies, maximizing energy efficiency and minimizing resource consumption. The new Belgium brewing company works to maximize energy efficiency saving alternatives. It invested in a wind turbine becoming the first wind-powered beer company in the United States. This reduces the amount of CO2 emitted to the environment. It has a 2OKw solar panel array on top of their packaging hall which produces 3 percent of their electric power thus saving on energy. The company has a steam condenser that captures and reuses hot water during the production process to start the next brew. The steam is then used to de-ice loading of docks and to heat the floor tiles during the cold weather. It also uses sun tubes to provide natural daytime light. It has a brew kettle that conserves energy as it heats wort sheets instead of heating the whole kettle at once. It has a grid system installation that enables them to communicate with their electricity provider to conserve energy, for example, turning off operational functions that are not in use.

The company has embraced recycling as a way to reduce waste. (Farhar,.1999). It diverts 94 percent of its waste away from landfills. It recycles supplies like cardboard boxes, keg caps, office materials, and amber glass used in bottling. The brewery stores spent barley and hop grains in its silo and give it to farmers to feed their animals such as pigs. The company buys recycled products when it can; it also encourages its employees to use alternative means of transport in a bid of reducing air pollution. It also takes bacteria that creates methane from its wastewater and converts them to high protein fish food. New Belgium brewing company thereby employed the 3R strategy. The 3R is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to ensure that this strategy works.

The new Belgium brewing company works to minimize resource consumption.It uses only 4.2 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of beer and it intends to reduce it further by employing better production processes, such as decreasing its carbon footprint by 25 percent per barrel.It uses a closed loop system for their wastewater with its process water treatment plant, where microbes are used to clean the wastewater. 100 percent of the brewery's electricity is generated from renewables.The company also intends to cut its energy intensity by 10 percent.

The new Belgium brewing companys focus on social responsibility provides a key competitive advantage. The company strives to improve the lives of the communities living around it.The company has given away more than $2.5 million to philanthropic causes as a way of giving back to the community that supports and purchased its products.It donates 1 percent of its profits to the society in large. It supports nonprofit organizations that are creative, innovative and diverse in their missions and objectives. It also has a board that allows tourists and employees to give a view on how to help the community and also gives nonprofit organizations to have a platform to make their needs known.It also sponsors events used to create awareness of water issues conservation and environmental conservation.This greatly boosts its image both in corporate and social responsibility and attracts larger and loyal consumer base. (Hopkins et al., 2011).

The new Belgium brewing companys actions and initiatives are a socially responsible company.People who drink alcohol can behave unethically, and this should not be utterly blamed on the company that sells tobacco or alcohol because people will purchase these products regardless of who manufactures them. New Belgium brewing company has promoted greatly to the society as a responsible company though it involves in the selling of beer. David Edgar, former director of the Institute for brewing studies at the brewers association in Boulder, Colorado, states that the company has created a very positive image through good decision making though it is a beer selling company. It has proven that the company will do everything possible to contribute to society for those who choose to drink responsibly. Its participation and support in the culinary arts also show its commitment to ensuring it is socially responsible; it frequently hosts the New Belgium beer dinners, in which every course of the meal is served with a complementary culinary treat. It has also received the Business Ethics magazines Business Ethics Award for its dedication to environmental excellence.The company received the Environmental Protection Agencies regional Environmental Achievement Award.This was an honor and a motivator for the company to continue with its socially responsible goals.

Although it is acknowledged for this, there is still much to be done on their part.Addressing alcohol abuse through public dialogue is still very necessary, how to grow the brand and remain humble is also a challenge.Reducing waste to zero is also a challenge.( Zadek, Evans, Pruzan,2013). It also faces stiff competition from other beer producing companies so it must engage itself in constant analysis and healthy competition to ensure that it is still socially responsible.Even though the company faces challenges, they still have offered more to back to the community.They have a phrase in every six pack of their beer In this box is our labor of love.We incredibly lucky to be creating something fine that enhances peoples lives.Being socially responsible gives them a big advantage because consumers want to believe in and feel good about the products they purchase.


Hopkins, M. S., Haanaes, K., Balagopal, B., Velken, I., Kruschwitz, N., & Arthur, D. (2011). New sustainability study: The embracers seize the advantage. MIT Sloan Management Review, 52(3), 23.

Farhar, B. C. (1999). Willingness to pay for electricity from renewable resources: a review of utility market research. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL/TP, 550, 1-20.

Zadek, S., Evans, R., & Pruzan, P. (2013). Building corporate accountability: Emerging practice in social and ethical accounting and auditing. Routledge.

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