Lion has unveiled its 2021 sustainability report, detailing progress and featuring a new ESG-guided sustainability framework.
Among the key achievements hailed by Lion was a 28 per cent reduction in scope one and two emissions from the 2019 baseline. Scope one and two emissions are defined by the Greenhouse Gas protocol as those from ‘direct emission from owned or controlled sources’ and ‘indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy’.
As such, Lion said it was ‘progressing well towards the science-based target of a 55 per cent reduction by 2030.’
Two other major milestones were the launch of XXXX Zero, claimed to be Australia’s first carbon neutral, non-alcoholic beer, and its Kiwi equivalent, Steinlager Zero – ‘New Zealand’s first net carbon zero, alcohol-free beer.’
Lion’s Group General Counsel and Head of External Relations and Sustainability Libby Davidson said that the shift to an ESG based framework brings Lion in line with industry standards.
“By moving from the three pillars of community, environment, responsibility to the more commonly used ESG framework, Lion has aimed for greater transparency against the growing number of businesses choosing to anchor their sustainability strategies to these three key areas,” Davidson said.
“We want to demonstrate brave and enduring environmental leadership, create long-term positive social impact, and strengthen and safeguard our governance – underpinning our core purpose of championing sociability and helping people to live well.”
More than half (52 per cent) now consists of recycled content, above the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation’s target of 50 per cent. Furthermore, over 97 per cent of Lion’s packaging is now recyclable .
Beyond environmental sustainability, additional achievements include 47,101 Alcohol&Me online responsible consumption modules completed in New Zealand against a target of 36,000, and the rollout of Gotcha4Life ‘mental resilience training’ to over a quarter of Lion’s Australian staff.
Nevertheless, there always remains room for improvement, and Lion has conceded that supply chain impacts on the availability of paper have hampered attempts to totally phase out plastic shrink wrap, with a new target set for the end of 2025. Lion’s Kiwi operations are already free of shrink-wrap.
“While we always use the launch of our sustainability report to celebrate our successes and progress, we cannot ignore the fact that it was another challenging year for our business and the industry more broadly, and so we have also taken the opportunity to reset our plastic pledge,” Davidson explained.
“We are absolutely focused on ensuring we tread lightly and minimise our environmental impact as a brewer, we need more time to meet this target, ensuring other packaging options are commercially viable.
“Technological advancements in this field are happening at pace, and this adjusted target date will allow us more time to investigate solutions that may end up being more environmentally-friendly in the long run,” Davidson continued.
“Importantly, we were still able to phase out plastic shrink wrap in secondary packaging for our cans in 2021,” She concluded.
Lion stated that in the medium term, its ‘three-year focus is on carbon reduction in the value chain, water stewardship, driving the circular economy, and waste reduction in general.’