How the Beverage Industry's Carbon Footprint is Impacting Our Planet: Unveiling Emissions & Constituents

In an era where issues of sustainability have assumed utmost importance in global trade and consumption regimes, it is important to focus on the expanding market of Food & Beverages (often abbreviated as F&B). Studies usually focus on the consumer market for food products, creating the need to analyze the global beverage industry in depth , to understand its effect on global emissions. The global beverage industry is valued at USD 3.56 trillion and is projected to grow to USD 4.39 trillion in the next five years. As indicated in Figure 1, a regional analysis reveals that Asia leads in market size, primarily due to its vast populace. Other high consumption zones include North America and Canada.


But amidst all the fizz and flavours , questions about the enduring sustainability of consistently meeting the demands of a continuously expanding consumer population have begun to surface. In response to such questions, various studies have been conducted to pinpoint the places along the beverage supply chain where emissions can be significantly reduced.

As shown in Figure 1, Kearney’s report enumerates five main constituents of the beverage value chain and their share of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They are-

  1. Raw Materials - Production and pre-processing of raw materials in beverages takes the largest share of emissions , constituting 35% of total GHG produced.
  2. Packaging - Studies have shown varying carbon footprints depending on what material is used to package drinks. Glass bottles are shown to have the highest footprint at 675 g CO2e/l, while two most popular packaging solutions, Aluminum and PET Plastic stand at 190 g CO2e/l and 245 g CO2e/l respectively. The production of all these materials, contributes to 23% of all emissions from the industry.
  3. Operations - Daily operations including energy consumption of buildings and maintenance of equipment contributes to 11% of total GHG emissions.
  4. Transportation - Transport contributes to an estimated 13 percent of all GHG emissions, through the large networks required to traverse, to facilitate distribution. Switching over to Electric vehicles.

Consumption -Despite being overlooked, technologies enabling beverage accessibility, like vending machines, emit significant levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Each vending machine per year produces an estimated 4500 lbs. of CO2.


It is important to note that 4 out of 5 of the above mentioned constituents are part of Scope 3 emissions. Therefore measures to mitigate the increasing emissions of these activities is crucial to ensuring long term sustainability of the global drinks industry. One such measure , brought into force by the Kyoto Protocol are carbon market mechanisms. These regulations allow companies to offset their emissions through multiple channels. Sustainiam works as a facilitator and leader , in bringing climate tech solutions to companies and businesses in need. Through revolutionary products like the Emissions Calculator (ECal), Emission Xchange(EmX), Sustainiam offers cutting edge solutions to offset overall carbon footprint.

The growing numbers have created opportunities for collaboration towards achieving sustainable growth of the worldwide beverage industry. To turn the climate change situation around, concerted efforts from top companies and emerging players alike are required. Major players need to take the first steps towards achieving net zero emissions, in line with global goals for sustainability, and set standards for new entries into the beverage market.

Date: 20/03/2024
carbon emissions