Star Pubs – 2023

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Star Pubs – 2023

In 2021, HEINEKEN’s Star Pubs & Bars set-up a Sustainability Cabinet to focus on the environmental opportunities, risks and challenges of its 2,400 pub estate. This cross-functional team focuses on four areas of the SP&B business to address environmental impact: carbon footprint, property and technology, supply chain & procurement, and communications & behaviour.

With HEINEKEN’s commitments of being net zero in scopes 1&2 for 2030, and net zero across the full value chain by 2040 (scopes 1,2&3), the team needed to understand what this meant for the pub side of the business. As well as these targets, they had to consider the potential changes to pubs’ Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in the coming years, whilst still ensuring pubs and operators can sustain a profitable level of business.

In 2022, following the development of the baseline carbon footprint of Star’s pub estate, the Sustainability Cabinet identified areas to focus on and kicked off trialling efficiency and improvement initiatives in just 30 pubs. Measures like solar arrays for water heating, LED lighting, Fridge manager and Cellar Manager systems have all provided valuable data and learnings, and resulted in positive results on Energy Performance and reductions with all pubs re-certified reaching EPC C or B.

As a next step, Star identified further opportunities to trial 30 more pubs at the end of 2022. With each pub’s requirements being different, the checklist of improvements are not always suitable for every pub, but they help provide a list of what can be implemented to gain more data on and then look to scale across our sites. These further pilots will include investments like cavity wall insulation, double or secondary glazing and solar panels that provide renewable electricity to name a few.

Knowing that Star pubs must move away from using natural gas for heating and cooking to achieve net zero, a fully electric kitchen will also be trialled. In doing this Star will obtain valuable learnings on the cost and energy benefits but also gain insights into the challenges that this may bring in terms of efficiency and behaviour change.  

Cellar Heat recovery is another technology that is planned to be tested, where the unwanted heat is extracted from the cellar, captured, and reused elsewhere in the pub instead of being lost.

Human behaviour, education and accountability will be important elements towards achieving Star’s net zero targets and they are looking at piloting an external accreditation scheme.  This will help monitor, track, educate and make improvements in these areas.  Testing on a control number of pubs as a pilot has given vital information how to optimise such a scheme, as well as helping provide the local pub managers and staff with knowledge and actions that they can take to improve their own footprint and energy costs. 

This will also help consumers and customers of the pubs see what is being done and the progress that is being made, something Star know consumers want as they seek to make more sustainable choices themselves.

The outcomes of these pilots will provide Star with learnings of the benefits and challenges, so they can scale up across their sites and optimise accordingly. These learnings will help HEINEKEN more broadly on their journey to net zero, as well as with EPC compliance and supporting our licensees and operators to run their businesses.  

Star are aware that some solutions are not yet known, and so we must be open to new technologies, but the key is to have a balanced approach that allows a profitable business model whilst also focusing on the net zero commitments we have made. It is this balance which is one challenge we must address.