The company discloses what qualitative and quantitative goals it has set itself with regard to its resource efficiency, in particular its use of renewables, the increase in raw material productivity and the reduction in the usage of ecosystem services, which measures and strategies it is pursuing to this end, how these are or will be achieved, and where it sees there to be risks.
Only by acting in a thoroughly responsible way, by sustainable cultivation, and the careful use of resources can we secure our range of hop products, their consistent high quality, and our business concept in the long term. In the context of the sustainable development of the company and the efficient use of resources, we and our contract partners continually optimize our processes, not only in growing hops but also their marketing and in processing the raw material. We welcome environmentally aware thinking by our suppliers and encourage it by supporting potential resource-conserving production and harvesting processes. Our leading role in the hop industry continually reminds us of our responsibilities. For this reason, we have set ourselves several goals in terms of resources management and have taken measures to effectively counteract risks arising from our business activities.
We have taken several measures intended to save further energy. One of them was the renewal of the water storage tank for the steam generator by 2020. The tank was installed and is now in operation. Another is the intended replacement of the steam distribution pipework by the end of 2021. Some of the steam pipes were modified in 2020 and more will follow in 2021. With reference to the energy optimization of the cooling tower, installation took place in August 2020, and further energy optimizations were complete by the end of 2020.
Use of renewable energy
Increased use of regenerative energy is planned to be achieved by the on-going installation of photovoltaic systems on operational building roofs. The installation is now complete. The new systems were brought into operation at the end of 2020.
Breeding own varieties
An important goal relates to our hop breeding program. Two external factors make the measures taken for this purpose particularly relevant. First: the systematic use of integrated crop protection is essential to avoid attack by disease and pests. In doing this, we should have as wide a range of effective ingredients as possible available to us to avoid the build-up of resistance in the plants. However, the use of different agents is continually restricted by legal provisions, including the EU’s Farm-to-Fork Strategy. Second: longer periods of dry weather, which are occurring more frequently due to climate change, cause drought stress and disrupt the development of the hop plants during their growth phase. Restrictions on artificial irrigation imposed by water authorities obstruct the efficient development of the necessary infrastructure. We are working to counteract these risks with our in-house hop breeding program. Its objective is to replace ordinary general market hop types with our own new varieties. These are bred to have special resistance to diseases and pests, and can withstand drought stress. In terms of achievements so far, we have been successful with the goal-focused, marker-assisted breeding of aroma and high-alpha varieties, two of which have already been approved and introduced to the market. Similarly, we are researching with partners on nationally funded programs into new ways of providing plants with water.
Making adjustments to all existing concepts and evaluating previously drawn conclusions is something we do as a matter of course and an integral part of our corporate philosophy. The company’s senior management is deeply involved in all these processes. The identified material topics and progress are discussed at regular top-level management meetings. Potential and actual business risks are always considered by the executive management and brought up from time to time with the shareholders.