Episode #5 - Recorded on Aug 25, 2021

Lion’s net-zero big pitcher – doing the right thing for the long term, with Justin Merrell

“It’s important to have good governance in your company. It’s good to set ambitious targets. It’s good to be able to communicate those targets to employees. It’s good to engage your value chain, your suppliers, and your customers on the types of opportunities you can collaborate on. And fundamentally, it’s about acting, it’s about pulling all the levers you have at your disposal, because time has run out. And we must accelerate action and be doing everything that we can”, says Justin Merrell, Group Environment Director at Lion.

In this episode, we speak with Lion, one of Australia’s largest brewers to hear more about their climate change targets and their journey towards net-zero emissions. We talk about Lion’s carbon footprint in Australia and globally, including their scopes 1, 2 and 3 for their operations and supply chain emissions and what measures they take to reduce emissions.

We talk about external factors such as sector trends, science-based targets, reporting under the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, Sustainable Development Goals, and Lion’s sustainability metrics for internal reporting.

Climate risks and opportunities are important considerations for Lion, and we dive deeper into the top climate risks, such as water security, which is important for Lion’s operations, and even more important upstream for crop growing. We talk about the need for regenerative agriculture and increasing soil carbon. Justin also touches on the challenge of quantifying climate risks in terms of dollars.

The discussion then moves on to Lion’s carbon-neutral certifications to Climate Active as well as international organisational and product-focused offset programs. For Lion, carbon offsets are much more than simply ‘balancing the books’ on carbon. They provide the organisation with meaningful opportunities to invest in land-based carbon sequestration initiatives that improve agricultural lands and to invest in offset projects that are strongly aligned with important initiatives such as their Reconciliation Action Plan, while also reducing their carbon footprint. Offsets will decline as abatement actions reduce Lion’s emissions even further, but they may well remain an important part of the organisation’s strategy.

Justin also talks about how Lion works with their suppliers to reduce carbon emissions and how partnerships will be the next steps in Lion’s sustainability journey.

About Lion

As one of Australia’s largest brewers, Lion employs more than 1,500 people. Lion produces iconic brands such as Tooheys and XXXX, James Squires Zero, Steinlager Zero, as well as craft beers such as Furphy and Little Creatures, cider, alcoholic seltzer, coffee and kombucha.

Lion’s environmental approach is governed by the simple mantra of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. As a large manufacturer and purchaser of agricultural goods, Lion’s priorities are focused on reducing their water and energy usage and waste. Lion has made great progress in emissions reduction and in 2020, became the country’s first certified large-scale carbon neutral brewer. As part of Lion’s Energy Optimisation Program, they aim to brew all their beers using 100% renewable electricity by 2025. In New Zealand, Lion has achieved “carbonzero” certification with Toitu. And in the US, New Belgium has committed to eliminating carbon emissions by 2030.

Beyond the gates of their breweries, Lion measures emissions up and down the supply chain and works with their partners to mitigate the carbon footprint of their inputs and the journey to the point of purchase.

If you want to get in touch with Lion Australia, please visit the following:

About Justin Merrell

Justin is the Group Environment Director at Lion. He is responsible for setting Lion’s environment strategy that focuses on carbon, sustainable packaging, and water stewardship.

Prior to Lion, Justin held various roles in Qantas, but joined Qantas in 2012 as Group Environment Manager just in time to catch Australia’s first biofuel flight.

Prior to Qantas, he was Operations Manager at the Koppers chemical plant in Kurnell for 11 years. Justin has a Chemical Engineering Degree from the University of Newcastle and Master of Environmental Management from the University of New South Wales.

If you want to get in touch with Justin, you can connect with him on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/justin-merrell-4a799334/

Links to documents mentioned in the podcast

About 100% Renewables:

100% Renewables is a consultancy founded in 2015. We believe that achieving net-zero emissions can be cost-effective, when done right. We help large energy-using businesses, and government organisations make a meaningful difference by responding to climate change while driving financial performance. We are known for developing net-zero strategies that are pragmatic, based on sound business cases, and have organisational buy-in.

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