Let’s face it – it’s been a long year. We’ve had a presidential election that got a little crazy and a global pandemic that has effected millions. It’s no wonder we have been hitting the liquor store a little more than normal. But we don’t drink because we’re sad, we drink to celebrate! The reason Going Green was started was because we were sick of the 24/7 news cycle focusing on negativity to get us angry and coming back to consume more of their content. Going Green was started to promote positivity and sustainability. So when we were able to have Koskenkorva Vodka on the podcast, we were very excited. We spent some time sipping on sustainable vodka with their global brand ambassador, Mikael Karttunen about what Koskenkorva is doing to be more sustainable.
$1.5 Trillion Industry
According to Statistica, the alcohol market was valued at 1.47 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018 and is forecast to reach 1.75 trillion dollars by 2024. That’s a lot of alcohol! We are firm believers that companies making a big profit should use some of that to make an effort to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. For over 30 years, Koskenkorva has been doing that.
According to Mikael, in the village of Koskenkorva, sustainability is a way of life. Since 2015 Koskenkorva has been using the barley husks as a source of energy at their distillery. They have our own bioenergy plant at Koskenkorva, especially designed to use the barley husks that are left over from the distillation, as fuel for steam generation. This has decreased their carbon dioxide emissions significantly and are now 60% self-sufficient in terms of steam generation for the distillery.
Imagine if every alcohol company on the planet did that – it would make a huge difference, and give us all a reason to pop an extra bottle of champagne on the weekends. Sustainable champagne of course!
Koskenkorva’s Circular Economy
Koskenkorva has put a special focus on the circular economy. In addition to grain spirit, Koskenkorva’s plant produces starch and raw materials for animal feed. Even the carbon dioxide generated in the process is collected and used in greenhouse cultivation.
The coolest thing we learned is that they have their own bioenergy power plant. It uses barley husks as fuel and produces steam energy that is then used in distillation. The ashes are used in the nearby barley fields as a fertilizer. And thanks to the renewable fuel, they have been able to decrease their carbon dioxide emissions remarkably.
Altia, the company behind Koskenkorva vodka, cooperates with the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) to promote sustainable agriculture and protect the Baltic Sea and other waterways. For this sustainability work, Altia and the Koskenkorva plant were awarded the Green Company of the Year award in the 2018 Spirits Business Green Awards.
Sustainable Vodka on Going Green
Going Green is excited to feature Koskenkorva on an upcoming episode of The Going Green podcast. Going Green, hosted by Dylan Welch, interviews leading experts in cleantech, sustainability, media, finance, and real estate on the Going Green podcast. Tune in and subscribe to the podcast on Apple or Spotify to listen to interviews with leading cleantech and sustainable experts.
Dylan and Mikael dive deeper into Koskenkorva’s past, and what made them become the sustainable company they are today, as well as the culture and history behind the company.