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Sustainable beer leaves us keen for more: renewal of Green Circles HEINEKEN agreement

2 juni 2021

Parties involved in the HEINEKEN Brewery in Zoeterwoude will continue to work together for the next three years towards a climate-neutral brewery chain and climate-resilient environment. They have recorded their intentions in the new Green Circles HEINEKEN agreement. The result will not only be a sustainably produced beer, but also more bees, less flooding and reduced CO2 emissions.

Green Circles HEINEKEN is a unique collaboration between the brewery, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Wageningen University & Research, the Rijnland Water Board, and the province of South Holland. They have been working to increase the sustainability of the brewery since 2013. Delegate Meindert Stolk: ‘In recent years, numerous beautiful, sustainable projects have been launched that could never have happened without this equal partnership. This has happened here, in one specific location and with very concrete actions that have also inspired other places to work towards a sustainable, healthy habitat. It can be done!’  


Clean transportation to the port

One of the successes of Green Circles HEINEKEN is the zero-emission shipping project, which evolved into the start-up of Zero Emission Services in 2020. Inland vessels will soon be travelling between the brewery in Zoeterwoude and the Port of Rotterdam on green electricity. Ruud Pronk, responsible for sustainability at HEINEKEN Netherlands Supply: ‘By working together within Green Circles, we’ve been able to achieve more towards increasing the sustainability of our brewery and chain. To complement zero-emission shipping, we are also currently exploring how to make the remaining section of container transport by road electric. This is better for both the climate and the living environment. HEINEKEN aims to have a fully climate-neutral brewery by 2030. Green Circles helps us achieve this goal.’ 


More bees, less flooding

A pleasant, climate-resilient habitat continues to be an important part of ‘the dream’. The Rijnland Water Board, together with HEINEKEN and other partners, is investigating the possibilities for a manure and residual waste digester. A ‘multifunctional ditch’ will also be developed by Wageningen University & Research for cleansing water flushed from dairy farms in the area through a natural filter purification marsh in a polder ditch. The province is also establishing two more pilot plots for bees along the Gouwe River. This is a welcome expansion of the bee landscape that adds to the nature- and insect-friendly design of the 35-acre brewery site. For Naturalis and other partners, the collaboration in the bee landscape is the basis for a healthy habitat and has already resulted in 34% more wild bee species occurring in the area since the start of Green Circles.