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Absolut Vodka changes to biodiesel

Press Release   •   Sep 25, 2014 08:00 GMT

The aim is to reduce the CO2 emissions by half from the transports to and from the plants where Absolut Vodka is produced by the year 2020. By using RME, a kind of eco-fuel, The Absolut Company expects to achieve the target by a wide margin by 2020.

In 2009 The Absolut Company set a target to reduce the CO2 emissions by half from the production plant-related transports per liter produced vodka by 2020.

As a starting-point, a mapping of transports to and from the production facilities was made. It showed that the largest environmental impact came from the transport of stillage, the by-product formed during the distillation process which is used as fodder to hundreds of thousands of farm animals in the surrounding area. Every liter produced vodka results in four liters of stillage. It showed that the stillage transportations were the key to the transport-related emissions and the task of finding a renewable fuel alternative began.

”We initiated a dialogue with the haulers who transport the stillage and together we found the solution with the biodiesel, RME (rapeseed methyl ester). So far we have learned that with the right support, it is now possible to execute major transport work with RME, says Peter Neiderud, Director Supply Chain and acting Director Quality & Environment.

One Source is the key concept behind the production process of Absolut Vodka in which every bottle of Absolut Vodka originates from the same source. This means that the winter wheat is grown and harvested in the south of Sweden, the water comes from a local spring and the bottling plant in the small town of Åhus is located less than twenty kilometers from the distillery. The glass that the iconic bottle is made of is from the nearby glassworks in Limmared. This makes Absolut Vodka the world’s largest locally produced vodka.

 “We have organized our whole production around Åhus and its vicinity. We can ensure the high quality standards both in our vodka and our local environment thanks to our local presence,” says Peter Neiderud.

A new filling station for locally produced RME from the supplier, Ecobränsle, was introduced after the summer at the distillery of Absolut Vodka. The Absolut Company also has a contract with the wheat suppliers that states that at least 25 percent of the wheat transports should use biofuels. There is also an ongoing dialogue with the other providers to increase the share of renewable fuels. There is no doubt that the goal of reducing the CO2 emissions by 50 percent by the year 2020 will be achieved with great success.

“This is one step ahead in order to make as little impact as possible on our environment. Whereas rape seed basically is a foodstuff product, we see biofuels as a good yet temporary solution. Therefore we are continuously investigating other possible alternatives of second generation biofuels for the future. The most interesting is refined residues such as biomass and organic waste-to-fuel. This would be closer to the concept of circular economy, which we strive to have as a guiding-star in our work”, says Peter Neiderud.

The transportations of the product to the rest of the world are not a part of the aim of reducing the CO2 emissions by half but there is an ongoing and active work of this in other forums. 75 percent of all Absolut Vodka produced is shipped by sea, which also is the most energy efficient way of transportation. The Absolut Company has over the years worked towards better and more sustainable transportations. The Absolut Company is a part of the Clean Shipping Project which puts pressure on the world’s ship-owners to report and reduce their environmental impact.

During the past 10 years Absolut Vodka has reduced the CO2 emissions from the production by 80 percent partly by extensive recycling of heat and by renewable electricity. Today our distillery has the lowest energy consumption per unit in our industry *. However, there are still some production-related emissions that are undergoing continuous efforts to be reduced. To take responsibility for these emissions, until they can be reduced, The Absolut Company offsets these by investing in the Plan Vivo certified forest project “Scolel Té” in Mexico.

*among large distilleries over 20 million liters/year capacity, according to BIER 2013 benchmark

Facts RME:

Rapeseed methyl ester, abbreviated RME, a kind of biodiesel is produced mainly from rapeseed oil. The CO2 emissions from the combustion of RME from Ecobränsle’s plant in Karlshamn are now 66 percent lower than the combustion of conventional diesel (in a well-to-wheel perspective). The rapeseed used in the production is cultivated in Sweden and the tank trucks used for fuel transport also run on RME.

For further information, please contact:

Paula Eriksson, VP Corporate Communications, The Absolut Company

+46 701 90 12 07,

The Absolut Company has the worldwide responsibility for the production, innovation and strategic marketing of Absolut Vodka, Malibu, Kahlúa, Wyborowa, Luksusowa och Frïs. Absolut Vodka is the world’s fourth largest premium spirits brand. Every bottle of Absolut Vodka is produced in Åhus, southern Sweden. Malibu is the number one rum-based coconut spirit in the world, sold in more than 150 countries. Kahlúa coffee liqueur is the world leader in its category. The head office is located in Stockholm, Sweden. The Absolut Company is a part of Pernod Ricard, which holds one of the most prestigious brand portfolios in the sector.


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