With "Equity For Punks" the craft beer brand BrewDog is collecting investments for a green infrastructure. In an exclusive interview, CEO Marcus Thieme explains how beer can promote nature and climate protection
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Author: House of Eden
In Germany's quite conservative beer market, a unique player is causing more and more attention: BrewDog. A Scottish brewery that wants to revolutionize the world. In 2007 the company was founded by James Watt and Martin Dickie, who were bored with the UK's uninspired beer scene. Since then, BrewDog has also been crowdfunded, implementing innovative and unique projects that are not just delicious Beer, but also result in the promotion of sustainability.
In an interview, Marcus Thieme, CEO BrewDog Germany, reveals the challenges a sustainable company in the beverage industry is confronted with, how BrewDog became CO2 negative and how the company wants to promote climate and nature conservation in the long term.
BrewDog CEO Germany Marcus Thieme
Companies should have the mindset to want to do good
Sustainability and ethics represent values that we and our community believe in. We want to make a contribution to our planet, which is why we are always motivated to act together in an environmentally friendly manner. To drive this mission forward, we have teamed up with Professor Mike Berners-Lee, a recognized expert on sustainability, and integrated this topic into our corporate DNA. This is how we achieve our goal: to preserve our planet for brewing and drinking beer.
BrewDog: This is how CO2 compensation works when brewing beer
Some of these "planetary rescue operations" relate to ways To reduce or offset CO2. For example, BrewDog converts grains, a natural by-product of brewing, into bio-methane. In the future, any fossil fuels that are produced in the brewing process will be compensated for. CO2 is also a by-product of fermentation. That's why BrewDog is currently working on capturing or recovering this so that it can later be used to carbonate the beers.
Keyword logistics: Another way we can improve CO2 balance implement is the switch to an electric delivery fleet. In general, all delivery vehicles should be operated green and therefore electrically. The important thing is that we get faster with all of this - BrewDog, other beverage companies, and all other industries. Sustainability must be implemented now and efficiently.
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Innovation has to make sense
At BrewDog, innovation was an important topic from day one. We always wanted and want to be innovative - but not "just for the sake of it". Instead of bringing something senseless onto the market, our products should create meaning and pursue a goal. And so it makes sense for us to brew beer that promotes sustainability through innovative initiatives as well as production and distribution channels.
In general, innovation permeates our corporate DNA and mindset. This can also be seen in our marketing and PR campaigns. It is not about always being against something and, above all, loudly - we want to question things productively and, if we find a better way, implement it.
Sure, sometimes one or the other thinks it's cool when a company stirs something up here and there, but our initial image of the rebel has evolved a bit. First and foremost, it's simply about communicating our attitude and making a clear statement. If that is also received in the media, then of course it is fantastic.
Equity For Punks - Crowdfunding in the name of sustainability
When you focus on sustainability you want to make a difference. We were lucky from the start that our team and our supporters were motivated to do good. That's why BrewDog has pioneered a unique business model since 2009 with "Equity For Punks". A crowdfunding program that is the force behind our steady growth: We are now supported by more than 145.000 partners around the world who work together to bring about change.
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The reason for the success of "Equity For Punks" is primarily that our community loves our philosophy, vision, mission and of course beer. In addition, all partners enjoy some benefits: Exclusive access to special beers, discounts and invitations to special events such as the Annual General Mayhem - a festival all about beer, food and music, where our founders come together with the community.
Top 3 tips for successful crowdfunding
Sure, every company has to define its goals individually. Nevertheless, there are general guidelines that have helped us from the beginning to realize our projects and thus implement our long-term mission.
- Define target group. Without an engaged audience, crowdfunding is pointless. In the process, the partners become the strongest supporters and at the same time also the sharpest critics, which is why you always receive valuable feedback from the community.
- Focus on visualization. It makes sense to invest a lot of time and energy in visual content such as video content. This is the ideal way to communicate values and mission. The main thing is to be specific and transparent to the community.
- Be realistic. The goal must be attainable and thus also translatable for the donors. The community needs to know how their amount is made up and whether the project in which they are investing is really feasible.
When we plan new projects, we always take these three aspects into account. In this way we can transparently show the equity punks that it is worth investing, as they not only support the realization of our goal, but can also help shape it.
Green investment: BrewDog collects for climate and environmental protection
We have been CO2020 negative since August 2: BrewDog pulls twice as much CO2 from the air as it emits. Despite this success, we always ask ourselves what we should do in addition to act sustainably. Many project ideas have emerged - from an anaerobic bio-power plant to conserve resources to CO2 recovery initiatives and a new one of their own afforested forest in the Scottish Highlands to green mobility - surrender.
These can now be supported with our current "Equity Punks for Tomorrow" investment round. All new investments will flow into sustainable projects. 33 million have already been invested in green infrastructure.
Save the planet instead of just focusing on profit
Since we believe in action and not in empty promises, the greatest challenge is to implement these projects as quickly as possible. Working with partners can be challenging, but we don't have much time left and we have to develop solutions promptly. We are currently seeing many refreshing forms of cooperation and new ideas and thus some promising future projects.
Although investment in environmental protection during COVID-19 often could not be prioritized, for example, smaller companies come to us in order to further process our remaining spent grain in a sustainable manner. This clearly shows that it is not about profit, but about protecting the planet and our future.
With today's consumers, greenwashing doesn't stand a chance
In general, there has been a strong trend towards sustainability over the past 10 years. Nowadays no company can actually neglect the topic of sustainability. This applies to all industries, even beyond beverage. It is particularly great that this development is favored by the fact that more and more consumers are specifically demanding environmental protection.
Especially the coming generations: They insist on transparency, check it A company's goals and make sure that not only greenwashing is carried out here. In general, from now on the main question will always be in all of these areas: Is this approach really sustainable?
Thank you dear Marcus!