This Little Thing Can Help You Be More Sustainable Today

Whenever a brewery owner may see a fellow company get B Corporation certified they may think it’s one of those things that someone bigger than them can get to. But for Allagash’s Zoe Malia, starting now and doing the little things can build toward a more sustainable future for any sized brewery.

“It started with just a couple people 14 years ago, and we were a very small company compared to our size today,” said Malia, the company’s Sustainability Manager who assumed the newly created role for the Maine brewery in 2022. “It’s all these little tiny things that are happening over time that has gotten us to where we are today.”

Allagash recently announced it has received its recertification, earning an overall Impact Score of 104.0, which represents a more than 20-point jump from the 83.8 score earned by the brewery when it received its first B Corp certification in 2019. In all, 14 breweries are B Corp certificated in the US.

To get this certification, Malia and many from the company work through a very rigorous assessment that looks at all different parts of the business,

“How you impact and work with the environment around you, your community, your customers, your employees, as well as your overall governance,” she explained. “The difference here is that this certification is a signal and a commitment as a business to say, I’m going to use my business as a force for good. We’re not just hitting the basics, we’re going above and beyond. … Some people call that conscious capitalism. So it’s really, really crucial and important to the well-being of the people on this planet, and the environment around it as well.”

READ MORE: Allagash Earns B Corp Recertification with a 20-Point Score Increase

Malia recently shared with Brewer how breweries of any size can start small to make big changes. Lots of what helps get to the B Corp standard is keeping track of many different things and creating documentation to show that you are doing the work.

“Some of the things that come straight to mind, especially in my area work in sustainability, is creating an internal green team where you have passionate employees who are looking for opportunities in all areas of the company,” Malia said. “Whether you’re packaging the beer, or you’re brewing the beer, or you’re helping with that admin side of the brewery, everyone has a role to play in pushing that company to be better.”

Starting small can be a big bonus, she added. Look to purchase in bulk to reduce your impact on the planet. Look for water conservation opportunities as well. Getting involved in the community and supporting nonprofits financially, but also using your brewery’s voice to uplift others while using your physical space as a place for nonprofits or other local businesses or local groups to organize is another.

And collecting data helps start all of this.

“Start benchmarking your brewery and collecting that data to compare yourself to yourself and to other breweries,” she said. “There are lots of wonderful resources out there to do that, including on the Brewers Association’s website. They have a benchmarking tool, it’s something that we’ve been using for a very long time to track our sustainability efforts. It helps us get a bigger perspective on how we’re doing as a business, but also, in terms of our employees and how we impact the community around us.”

Malia said that documentation can look like lots of different things.

“For the benchmarking specifically, it’s learning how we can best track our invoice data for our electricity consumption, for example,” she said. “Something as simple as that, that’s going to be helpful for us later down the line when it comes to the B Corp and getting better at that over time. That Brewers Association benchmarking tool has been really helpful for us to stay on top of our electricity usage, our CO2 usage, even the waste that we’re sending to recycling or landfill, that’s going to be useful information for B Corp.”

LISTEN: The Full Podcast Interview with Allagash’s Zoe Malia is Now on Spotify!

Even something as simple as having SOPs in place for a specific process such as utilizing equipment on the packaging floor can be a part of documentation.

“That sounds kind of boring and super specific,” she said. “But you’d be amazed at how making sure that you have things written down and processes in place and procedures written down. It’s really, really important. And that’s what’s helped us get those additional 20 points over the last three years.

“The documentation is what’s really helped us and focusing on that because we can say that we do XYZ. But if we don’t actually have it documented — and in a nice, thorough, really clear way —  we’re not going to get that credit or that recognition. So that’s been a big learning for us. Even this time around, there were some things that we do that were totally representative of this score, because we didn’t have the best documentation for it. So looking forward to, to working with numbers across the company to make that happen.”

Photo courtesy Allagash Brewing

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