Sustainable beer makes a great appetiser: Covenant Green Circle HEINEKEN prolonged

Published on
June 3, 2021

In the coming three years, parties around the HEINEKEN Brewery (see photo) in Zoeterwoude will continue to make joint efforts for a climate-neutral brewery chain and a climate-proof environment. That is what they have laid down in a new covenant Green Circle Heineken. It will not only render a sustainably produced beer, but also more bees, better water management and less carbon emission.

Green circle HEINEKEN is a unique collaboration between the Brewery, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Wageningen University & Research, Water Authority of Rijnland and the province of South Holland. Since 2013 they are working on more sustainability around the brewery. Provincial Provincial Executive Meindert Stolk: “ During the past years quite a number of sustainable projects started, that could not have evolved without this equivalent approach towards collaborating. Here, on one specific location and with very practical actions. This is certainly inspiring to really start working for a sustainable, healthy living environment also on other locations. For it is possible!”


Clean transport to the port

One of the successes of Green Circles HEINEKEN is the project on zero-emission shipping, that developed into the start-up of Zero Emission Services in 2020. Very soon, inland shipping between the brewery in Zoeterwoude and the Port of Rotterdam will be fuelled by green electricity. Ruud Pronk, responsible for sustainability at HEINEKEN Netherlands Supply: “By collaborating within Green Circles we managed to take major steps on the road to sustainability for our brewery and the chain. In addition to zero-emission shipping, we are also exploring how we can make the remaining stretch of the container transport by road also electrical. That is better for the climate and the living environment. HEINEKEN has as objective for 2030, to have a completely climate-neutral brewery. Green Circles helps to reach our targets.”

More bees, less flooding

A pleasant and climate-resilient living environment remains to be an important part of ‘the dream’. Rijnland Water Authority is progressing to make Zoeterwoude Rijndijk climate-proof. Besides this, the Province is setting up two more plots for bees along the river Gouwe. A fine expansion of the bee landscape, besides the nature- and insect friendly layout of the 35 hectares-wide brewery area. The collaboration in the bee landscape is to Naturalis and other partners the basis for a healthy living environment and it has already provided for 34% more wild bee species in the area since the start of Green Circles. Wageningen University & Research will add to this a ‘multifunctional ditch’, that is to be developed. This ditch will be cleaning rinse water, stemming from a milking machine on a dairy farm, by leading it through a natural purification marsh into a polder canal.