Zagorka’s sustainability strategy covers whole value chain “from barley to bar”

Zagorka, a leading Bulgarian brewer and part of the Heineken group, is implementing a long-term sustainability platform “Brewing a better world” which aims to focus on six key areas – protection of water resources, reducing carbon emissions, growing with communities, sourcing sustain-ably, advocating responsible consumption, and promoting health and safety.

With targeted actions in these areas Zagorka covers the whole value chain “from barley to bar”. They all fall into the scope of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development by the United Nations Global Compact – a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals.

Zagorka is currently able to recycle 99.6% of all generated waste and aspires to increase this share in the future and to minimise the amount sent to landfill. A significant decrease is also recognised in the total amount of waste generated at first place – 67% in brewery production area covered. By reducing the number of materials that cannot be reused and replacing with reusable whenever possible, the non -recycled waste is reduced by 40% as well. The numbers speak for themselves – 61,000 pieces of wood, 17,280 kg cans and 5,900,000 pieces of glass bottles have been recycled last year. Sometimes the efforts cover even on brand level: for example with the “green” marketing decision to remove the upper paper label from the PET bottle of Ariana brand and to organise a planting initiative for 2,230 new trees, in order to raise awareness and contribute in practice for the reduction of paper usage.

In terms of packaging, Zagorka’s response of the current and upcoming necessities regarding paper and plastic usage reduction would be to set whole new specific targets on their packaging types, which are expected to lead to a permanent reduction of the amounts of waste through gradual decrease of all bottles weight and new labeling policies. Though the consumption in PET bottles is high for Bulgaria, mainly because of the consumers’ convenience, Zagorka is willing to provide other solution for them to choose from. Informational campaigns and educational sessions dedicated to sorting and packaging have been supported by Zagorka together with Ecopack Bulgaria. Waste collection and returning activities take place during all recent events organised by Zagorka, such as Ariana Football park during Mondial 2018 and the Beerfest in Stara Zagora.

Regarding CO2 reduction, 100% of the Zagorka fridges distributed in the market are “green”, which leads to less CO2 emissions. A green fridge 37% less energy compared to the regular ones iduring the cooling process. Brewing heat is being used to provide hot water for the administrative offices and in the packaging facilities. In general, the whole amount of carbon emissions in distribution is 19% less since 2010.

Zagorka’s Green Warehouse, located in the city of Stara Zagora, is the first green industrial building in Bulgaria operating since 2013.

What does this mean in practice? The warehouse for beers and ciders has been designed and certified in accordance with BREEAM – a globally recognized evaluation method for environmental indicators of such buildings. The facility is equipped with computer-based building management system (BMS), which controls and maintains the lighting, ventilation, fire extinguishing system and other systems in the building with minimum energy consumption and provides optimum working conditions.

Innovative green solutions have also been implemented in the construction process. The required storage temperature for finished goods is reached without any cooling or heating system thanks to better wall insulation with 15 cm wide thermo panels, non-typical for such conventional spaces floor insulation, fast doors with thermo insulation and movement velocity of 2 m/s. The building is also equipped with heat curtains that, along with the doors, pre-vent the storerooms from cooling or heating during all seasons. At night the premises are being cooled via special garret windows, opened automatically by BMS, so the warm air could naturally leave the building and be replaced by the heavier cold air from outside. Specially shaped north- oriented windows prevent the sunlight from affecting the stored goods.

A computer-based system controls the energy in the office spaces via solar panels for hot water, located on the building rooftop, window sensors that turn off the air conditioning when the windows are open, as well as customized temperature control per each room in the range of ± 3°C compared to the regular level of 22°C. For maximum consumption of natural daylight, the green warehouse is built in a manner, so that the inner spaces without windows could be lightened by the innovative Solar Tube system, which transfers daylight to them.

Lighting switches cannot be found in any part of the building, because the lighting is powered automatically by movement and light intensity sensors. The artificial light sources in the Green Warehouse premises are based on LED technology. The warehouse is surrounded by green walls from Ligustrum, a plant known for absorbing dust. The construction process of the warehouse base began at the end of 2011 and has been completed a year later. The surface of the new green production warehouse covers around 3000 m², and the cumulative investment equals more than 2 million Bulgarian levs.

Besides these green innovations, there is also an integrated system that gathers and utilizes rainwater, used in service spaces and office rooms as well as for hygienisation of the storage space. Thanks to these and such innovative decisions, the water consumption reduction targets until year 2020 have already been accomplished. 3.3 hl/ hl is the average water resources usage achieved currently in the brewery, which means 6% less in comparison with 2015.

Sustainable sourcing is also a major part of the Zagorka sustainability tar-gets. Being one of the top contributors to Bulgarian economy, the company is also supporting Bulgarian farmers following strict requirements and policies.

On corporate level, the company supports various green initiatives that fall into the scope of the “Brewing a better world” platform, with Zagorka Green Fund: an annual competition for ecological projects and ideas on local level. The company has already granted funding for initiatives like – building an Eco Classroom in Kazanlak, making better isolation for energy saving at a school in Radnevo, and Green Bus Station which is about to be built in Stara Zagora.

Zagorka implements responsible consumption values organising information campaigns on a corporate brand level. As part of the global Heineken commitment to advocate responsible consumption, Zagorka spreads the “When you drive, never drink” message every year, focusing on driving and consuming behavior, and on a company level the “Game over – alcohol is not a game” targeting NGOs, parents and teachers in order to provoke a discussion regarding underage alcohol consumption and the best ways to prevent it. In order to provide the consumers the opportunity to choose responsible drinking, Zagorka offers a strong portfolio of non-alcoholic brands for different tastes and preferences, suit-able for non-conventional consumption occasions also during the day coming as a response to consumers’ needs and demands, driven by the global and local cultural trend of living a balanced lifestyle.

Heineken 0.0 gives consumers the choice to go non -alcoholic without compromising on a quality beer experience.

For a third consecutive year Zagorka has also been distinguished as a “greenest company in the FMCG sector” by the Spontaneous perception survey, conducted by TNS based on the opinion of consumers aged between 18 – 55 years, residents of big cities and Sofi a, as well as by an independent Bulgarian annual competition, organized by B2Bmedia”.