New Belgium Brewing’s Jenn Orgolini Says Collaboration is Key

Posted on 14. Sep, 2010 by in Business & Policy, Clean Tech, Entrepreneurship, Interviews

Employee-owned New Belgium Brewing Company calls its sustainability
program “Alternatively Empowered.” Jenn Orgolini, New Belgium’s sustainability
director, defines the term this way:

“It indicates the different slant to business that we take here. Our purpose is to
operate a profitable company that makes our love and talent manifest. The words
themselves point to our unique culture, how much people love to work here, how
they invest themselves in the business, as well as our emphasis on alternative
energy and innovation. We love beer, and we love to make beer. And, we see
the business of making beer as a means to an end to create a better world.”

New Belgium has been a pioneer in the use of alternative energy sources. In 1999,
it became the first brewery to subscribe to wind power for all of its electrical energy
use and even capturing the methane gas generated in the brewing process to create
electricity on site. And, the company’s sustainability efforts don’t stop with its own
operations. Orgolini, who will be part of an Opportunity Green breakout session on
partnerships and collaboration models, says partnering with businesses has been
critical to New Belgium’s successes in sustainability.

On the philanthropy side, New Belgium worked with other companies in the Fort
Collins, Colorado, area to create an awareness campaign called Save the Colorado
River. The company also partnered with other local businesses as part of a U.S.
Department of Energy grant to demonstrate peak energy load reduction.

“We’re putting together projects to reduce our peak energy use by a megawatt,
which in turn benefits our city, demonstrates smart grid technology and how we
can add more renewables to the grid,” she says. “That is something we couldn’t do
by ourselves. It’s an example of the fact that so much of our ability to be effective
grows when we collaborate with others.”

Written by AHA! for Opportunity Green.

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