Black Star and Environmental Sustainability
Every year, the Workers’ Assembly of Black Star Co-op monitors our Ends policies for the Board. Ends policies are written by the Board and approved by the Membership, and they define what outcomes we want from the operations of the business. You can find a copy of our entire policy set here, and you’ll find our Ends policies at the very beginning of the document.
This past month the Workers’ Assembly provided us with our first ever reporting on our new Ends Policy on environmental sustainability, section A.3 of our policy set. The effort was led by our awesome Board-Staff Liaison Karinne Thornblom, and I must say that the Board was very pleased with Black Star’s efforts to make us the greenest brewpub in town! In fact, the Board was so happy that we want to tell the world, so here are some highlights of the report, organized by Ends Policy objective:
To reduce fossil fuel consumption by purchasing local, organic products and alternative energy:
- Among other things, we currently purchase produce from two consumer supported agriculture (CSA) farms and a business that specializes in distributing locally-grown farm products, and we purchase products from a new co-op in town: Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery!
- We are also a subscriber to Austin Energy’s Green Choice Program, which derives its energy from clean, renewable sources
To minimize the amount of our materials going to landfills and get on a path of being zero-waste by 2015:
- We contract with a local composting company to receive our compostable materials and also recycle our used fryer oil and cardboard waste
- We collect food scraps from people’s plates and ensure that they go into the compost
- A local rancher collects our spent grains from the brewery, and the grain is used for feed
- We recycle everything we can–probably not a big surprise!
- We provide workers with reusable beverage cups with lids to eliminate the need to use disposable to-go cups while fulfilling health code requirements
To ensure that we’re using water and electricity efficiently:
- We implement a sub-metering plan in the Co-op so that we can identify what processes are using the most water, electricity, or natural gas, and work to improve those processes
- We’re working on our LEED certification, and we intend to exceed energy code and water usage goals by at least 15%
- We use multi-zoned air conditioning; zoned, controllable LED lighting; dedicated ventilation for the brewery; Energy Star-rated equipment; low-flow urinals, toilets, and restroom faucets; a low-flow kitchen sink sprayer and an energy-efficient dishwasher in the kitchen
To encourage the use of alternative transportation to the brewpub:
- We educate all new hires in the various alternative transportation methods
- We participated in the Austin Bicycle Pub Crawl last October
- We hosted an event for “Austin Dirt Derby” in January, and had two bicycle simulators set up so that people could race one another
- We promoted the use of the MetroRail in March by offering a $1 discount on house beer if the customer had a MetroRail ticket
- We were selected as a venue to host this year’s “Austin Bike Poster Show” in May, which is designed to inspire people to bike more
We also hosted events for the Balcones Chapter of the US Green Building Council of Central Texas, and for this past April’s Earth Day, we donated 5% of all sales to benefit six local environmental organizations: Friends of Barton Springs pool, Sierra Club, Clean Water Fund, TreeFolks, Texas Land Conservancy, and Hill Country Conservancy. This was probably the longest blog post I’ve ever written, but when there’s so much good work to report on, I think that’s just fine. What other things would you, our Member-Owners, like the Co-op to accomplish? The Board is listening!