Impact Focus: Carbon Reduction Strategy

At Yakima Chief Hops, we take great pride in operating our business responsibly, which involves a focus on long-term success and the conviction that constructing value for both local communities and the planet is every bit as crucial as shareholder value. We work tirelessly to reduce our carbon footprint, lessen dependence on natural resources, and eliminate waste while empowering our communities along the way. We recognize that industry collaboration is the pivotal force for driving meaningful change and hope to inspire others to join us in creating a sustainable future. 

Greenhouse gases, a natural part of the Earth's atmosphere, play a pivotal role in maintaining the planet’s temperature balance by regulating heating and cooling cycles. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and excess water vapor. However, too many greenhouse gases can cause an imbalance that leads to a general warming of the planet, resulting in climate change. 

To address this pressing issue, organizations need to acknowledge and measure their greenhouse gas emissions, which is where greenhouse gas inventories, also known as "carbon footprints," come into play. By compiling emissions and impact data, these inventories can help organizations plan and implement strategies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 
For years, Yakima Chief Hops has woven sustainability into the fabric of our business. As innovators, we believe in paving our way forward by identifying creative solutions to important issues that impact our environment and society.  

With scientists forcefully arguing for significant reductions in carbon emissions to limit global warming to 2°C by 2050, we know that a bold approach is needed to support our vision of climate justice. After all, sustainability is an ongoing process. As new research and methods emerge, we look for new opportunities to improve and constantly ask ourselves what else we can do. 

YCH is excited to announce a new partnership with Zevero, an industry-leading carbon accounting organization, amplifying our dedication to thorough and validated carbon emission reporting. We have reported our carbon emissions for years; however, this marks a significant step forward in our dedication to transparency in our environmental metrics. By using the data from Zevero to measure and monitor our carbon emissions, we can accelerate our transition to a net-zero economy, enabling us to identify areas where we can reduce our environmental impact more effectively. We look forward to reporting our findings and our progress.  

As we continue our efforts toward accomplishing our current environmental goals, we also look to identify new challenges. A few years ago, we had a wild-haired idea to create something impactful through our sustainability programs. We created our Chief Commitments, which outlines a series of tangible targets our business is actively seeking to elevate our communities while minimizing environmental impacts throughout our value chain. Several of these commitments were created to reduce carbon emissions and to align with our peers in and outside the industry to enact meaningful improvements to mitigate the effects of climate change.  

To meet these environmental goals, we will need to cut emissions throughout our business. Our supply chain is an area for improvement, having contributed over half of our organization’s total emissions from operations at the farm to the transportation of our products. As YCH works to shrink its footprint, we will be investing in innovative carbon capture technologies and advocating for other climate solutions. 

To be successful, a plan is needed to ensure that each step is intentionally made in the right direction. Our roadmap forward includes the following:  

  • Purchase renewable energy through Power Purchase Agreements beginning in 2024.
  • Conduct energy audits in our operations to identify potential energy efficiency projects and equipment upgrades. 
  • Invest in water efficiency efforts to reduce water consumption across all facilities.
  • Commit to setting corporate goals in alignment with the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) by 2024.
  • Continue to track and report our greenhouse gas emissions annually, with a 2024 focus on indirect emissions occurring in our organization's upstream and downstream activities.
  • Provide full transparency of farm water and carbon footprint information. Growers’ Green Chief® score will be impacted by their participation in sustainability initiatives, effective with the 2024 crop year.
  • Shift from conventional resource consumption methods by utilizing upcycled agricultural waste products. This strategic move will substantially cut emissions both in our operations and at the farm level.
  • Work with growers to identify ways to elevate regenerative agricultural practices that sequester carbon while building soil health.
  • Increase annual charitable funding and support towards environmental advocacy groups.
  • Support public policy initiatives to accelerate carbon reduction and removal opportunities. 
  • Invest in research and development to identify emerging carbon capture technologies that could enhance YCH’s carbon reduction efforts.
  • Ensure 100% of our packaging materials will be recyclable or compostable by 2025.
  • Achieve 100% renewable energy by 2025, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 56%. 

Our new Climate Strategy aims to keep us on track to make meaningful positive changes and benefit the environment and society. We are a multi-generational agricultural organization and believe a healthy planet is not only necessary for conducting business but is increasingly important.  

We draw inspiration from the artistry our customers wield. Our science-based climate action plan leans heavily on innovation. We are on a groundbreaking path to address the shared challenges faced by our brewers, our growers, and our world at large. Simply put, the stakes are too high for us not to make bold changes now. Your involvement is pivotal.

Together, we can drive meaningful contributions toward climate-positive business operations. 

We extend an invitation to join us on this journey through collaborative partnerships. By working together, we can drive positive impact throughout the industry and foster a shared commitment to sustainability. At Yakima Chief Hops, we firmly believe that we are all in this together, and it is through collective efforts that we can create a lasting legacy of responsible business practices for the benefit of the environment and society at large.