A coalition of 25 breweries from across the UK and Ireland have released an open letter calling on world leaders to make concrete commitments to tackle the climate emergency at COP26 next month.
The letter urges leaders to seize the “once in a lifetime opportunity to protect people and nature from the effects of the global climate crisis”.
It highlights reducing food waste as a key measure in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, citing evidence that food systems are responsible for one-third of GHG emissions and 80% of deforestation.
Alongside the open letter, each participating brewery has brewed a new beer for the Companion Series, a limited-edition collection of beers that use surplus bread that would otherwise have gone to waste.
Toast Ale, who coordinated the series and letter, has been brewing with bread since the company was founded in 2015. They have supplied pre-prepared surplus crumb and shared expertise with the fellow breweries to support the circular economy at this critical time.
There will be 2,600 Companion Series boxes available to purchase from today, with £26 from each sale invested in conservation and regenerative agriculture projects.
Toast Ale is partnering with Rainforest Trust UK to protect 3.25 million trees in threatened tropical rainforests, whilst a collaboration with Soil Heroes will support UK farmers to replenish the health of soils, sequestering 360 tonnes of CO2 as well as holding more water and improving biodiversity.
The Companion Series is expected to raise over £65,000 for these projects.
“It’s exciting to be launching the Companion Series alongside 24 of our Companion breweries. Not only are we raising funds for two fantastic organisations doing important work within forest conservation and regenerative agriculture, we’re also sending a message to world leaders, fellow businesses and society at large that we are committed to collaborating in order to tackle a problem that is bigger than all of us,” said Tristram Stuart, co-founder of Toast Ale.
“The latest IPCC report reminds us that we have a narrow window to reduce further warming of our planet, and it’s closing rapidly. Food systems are responsible for one-third of GHG emissions and 80% of deforestation. However, one-third of the world’s food is never eaten, an unnecessary use of the land and resources, and emissions of greenhouse gases, to produce it.
“As a business dedicated to positive social and environmental change, we’re dedicated to sharing our expertise and ethos with fellow breweries to make progress in reducing these numbers.
“But we also need governments to make the necessary policy commitments, which is why we’re challenging world leaders and COP negotiators with our open letter.
“We hope that those responsible for making policy decisions and setting international targets at COP will ‘use their loaves’ and work together to take meaningful action for the sake of our collective future.”
In the letter, the breweries say they are “laying down the gauntlet” for world governments to follow their lead and to collaborate in order to combat the climate emergency. Participating breweries range from household names such as Guinness to smaller, independent breweries such as Fyne Ales, a family-owned Scottish farm brewery in Argyll.