Beverages and their packaging are the largest source of emissions – Alko’s climate impact study 2020

Alko’s organisational carbon footprint in 2020 was about 149,500 tCO2e. A climate impact study carried out by Gaia Consulting found that the production of beverages and their packaging accounts for the largest share of total emissions.

Alko assessed its climate impacts in 2020 in cooperation with Gaia Consulting. The climate impact study indicates that Alko’s organisational carbon footprint in 2020 was 149,506 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).

Production of beverages and their packaging generates the most significant emissions

The production of beverages accounts for the largest share of the carbon footprint, 53% (79,868 tCO2e). The next highest emissions are generated by beverage packaging production (24%, 35,181 tCO2e) and international transport (18%, 20,927 tCO2e).

Breakdown of Alko’s organisational carbon footprint in accordance with GHG Protocol Scope emissions.

GHG Protocol Scope 2 emissions totalled 1,280 tCO2e, or 1% of the carbon footprint. Of the Scope 2 emissions, 672 tCO2e were caused by electricity consumption and 608 tCO2e by district heating consumption.

Scope 3 emissions accounted for the largest share of total emissions, 99% (119,389 tCO2e). The largest share of emissions was generated by the production of beverages and their packaging. In the case of beverages, the largest emissions were created by white wines (11%, 16,638 tCO2e) and red wines (10%, 14,968 tCO2e). In the case of beverage packaging, the most significant emissions were from the manufacture of glass bottles (15%, 22,547 tCO2e).

Comparison of Alko’s organisational carbon footprint. Sources of emissions comparisons: Ympäristö.fiDefra 2019 and Finnair.fi.

Background information on the study

Calculation model and limitations

The climate impact study and its calculation model were implemented in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol’s Corporate Accounting and Reporting standard, the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) standard and supplementary guidelines. Alko has no direct Scope 1 emissions. Scope 3 emissions categories were accounted for on the basis of materiality and data availability.

The climate impact study covers Alko’s own operations and the lifecycle of alcohol products, with the exception of purchase and use by consumers. A few alcoholic beverage products and product-specific gift packaging were excluded from the calculation. In the case of transport packaging, flexi-bags used in bulk transport have not been taken into account.

Data sources

The initial data for the calculations were collected from Alko’s databases and written sources. If no initial data were available for the calculations, Gaia’s expert assessments, validated in cooperation with Alko, were used as the initial data.

An extensive literature search for emissions multipliers of beverages and packaging was carried out. The multipliers were selected based on the reliability of the source literature and with the intent of not underestimating emissions.

Sensitivity analysis

The calculation of packaging emissions took into account the most common packaging sizes on the basis of litres. The smallest and rarest packaging sizes were excluded from the calculations. The emissions of the types of product packaging excluded from the total calculations amounted to 2,198 tCO2e, representing about 6% of product packaging emissions and 1.5% of Alko’s total carbon footprint.

Due to data inaccuracy, about 13,000 litres (0.01% of total litres) were not included in the emissions calculation of beverages. The emissions of beverages excluded from the calculations amounted to 34 tCO2e, representing about 0.04% of beverage emissions and 0.02% of Alko’s total carbon footprint.