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Sustainable kilning achieves science based target for GHG reduction

Reduce scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by at least 45% based on 2010 levels by 2025 to hit science based target and minimise global warming impact of our operations to <1.5C. 

Muntons had been mapping its carbon footprint since 2006 having developed the world’s first carbon calculator for malt. This resource provides comprehensive knowledge of what is needed to influence emissions from energy usage to contribute to minimising global temperature rise in line with science based targets and in advance of government targets.  

In 2019 Muntons opened a brand-new Biomass heating facility at its Bridlington plant. The Biomass plant uses locally sourced verifiable sustainable wood chip to reduce GHG emissions by 90%.  Muntons stipulated that the wood sourced must be FSC certified, to be available within 70 miles of the plant and to otherwise have no useful purpose other than heating. The biomass used would otherwise be chipped and spread onto forestry floors to emit the same amount of carbon as the biomass boilers but without the added benefit of generation of heat required for kilning. 

Plans for a second site at Muntons Stowmarket plant are nearing completion and are even more bold. An Energy centre will provide 100% of the site heat and steam demand from locally sourced biomass wood chip but through cogeneration, will also make the site self-sufficient for electricity. Construction is on target to deliver heat and electricity in a way that will help Muntons achieve it’s target scope 1 and 2 emissions reductions in 2021, 3 years ahead of schedule and adding to substantial savings in scope 3 emissions since 2007.  

Muntons scope 1 and 2 science-based target was a 45% reduction from 2010 to 2025 and it expects to achieve well in excess of 60% GHG reduction around 3 years early. This generates a very substantial reduction in embedded carbon from brewing use and a much better use of a woodchip that would otherwise have no other productive use. 

Reducing scope 3 agricultural impact by 30% and more to build supply chain resilience 

Achieve at least 30% reduction in scope 3 embedded carbon in malting barley 

Using their own carbon footprint calculator, Muntons has determined that the largest proportion of embedded carbon in malt comes from the growing of malting barley at around 60%. This represents the majority of the scope 3 upstream carbon in malt and is largely derived from the production and use of nitrogen fertilisers. Fertiliser manufacturers such as Yara are a prime innovator in this area and have been able to achieve a  90% reduction in total emissions (abatement) during the first stages of production of nitrogen fertilisers with the final product having just 40% of the footprint of the non-abated option. This factor alone reduces overall emissions substantially when built into a carbon calculation and was compelling for Muntons to introduce as a requirement in their supply contracts as a cost neutral means to achieve dramatic carbon reduction. In combination with other reduction activities in malting operations Muntons has reduced its carbon intensity overall for malt by 36% and expects to see a further 30-50% reduction in embedded carbon through carbon farming initiatives being carried out in conjunction with brewers and distillers. 

Muntons has also been fully engaged with the challenge of reducing emission from in-field activities through initiatives such as precision farming where only the nutrients and pesticides that are essential for a given area of a field are applied to minimise environmental run off issues and maximise resource efficiency. It is now a real possibility that, through what is called carbon farming, the barley crop can be grown at the same time as other cover crops or as intercropping to further reduce the requirement for inorganic fertiliser use. Carbon farming generates nitrogen for the soil naturally and can even remove more carbon from the atmosphere than is required by the barley plant to grow, thus resulting in economical, carbon negative malting barley varieties for farmers as well as a potentially useful source of good quality offsets as part of a carbon neutral strategy. 

To date this work has achieved more than the targeted 30% GHG reduction as well as establishing a farmer group that is so innovative and engaged that they are already trialling carbon negative malting barley production.