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Brewshed® Partner Yakima Chief Hops’ Commitment to Environmental Advocacy and Sustainability

Posted on Apr 15, 2024 in Brewshed, Conservation News, WA Wild Blog
For several years now, Washington Wild has been thrilled and incredibly grateful to count Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) as a Brewshed® Alliance partner. Winner of our 2021 Brewshed® Alliance Award, YCH is a company that prides itself on responsible business operations and emphasizes long-term success, with the belief that creating value for local communities and the planet is every bit as crucial as shareholder value. Their continued support of our mission is invaluable to our success.

Yakima Chief Hops Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Levi Wyatt, recently wrote an article highlighting how YCH is supporting environmental advocacy across the PNW. In the Hopwire post, Wyatt writes, “By protecting the source, we protect the pint. Change is incremental, but 2023 was a monumental year for conservation in the Pacific Northwest! In the last year alone, YCH publicly supported ten conservation letters to protect and defend waterways in the Pacific Northwest.” 

Among those ten letters, two were coordinated by Washington Wild. The first, in in support of our campaign to designate Washington’s first-ever Outstanding Resource Waters (ORW). The second, advocating for funding for the Trust Land Transfer (TLT) program. Thanks to our combined efforts, both initiatives were successful! 

In December 2023, we cheered the announcement that the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) had granted ORW designation to the Cascade, Green, and Napeequa Rivers. A component of the federal Clean Water Act, this designation now protects these three rivers from any future activities or developments that would degrade water quality. This designation will ensure these critical rivers remain healthy for all, for generations to come.

Wyatt states, “YCH proudly backed Washington Wild in its collaboration with over 240 diverse stakeholders. Through their joint efforts, which garnered almost 300 public comments solely from our supporters, Washington Wild played a pivotal role in spearheading the grassroots initiative to designate the Cascade, Green, and Napeequa Rivers as Washington State’s inaugural Outstanding Resource Waters (ORW). This significant ORW designation stands as a crucial safeguard, preventing any prospective deterioration of water quality in these rivers.” 

At the close of the 2024 State Legislative Session, we celebrated the protection of 2,200 acres of state forest land in nine different counties through the Trust Land Transfer (TLT) Program. By a unanimous, bi-partisan vote for the capital budget, the Legislature approved $10.8 million in funding for the nine projects.

Washington Wild’s Brewshed® Alliance Director, Chris Chappell, is also quoted, sharing the importance of having local businesses support these issues. Chappell explains, “By signing onto conservation-oriented comment letters, putting together issue-focused beers, and raising funds for Washington Wild, our Brewshed® members are contributing to conservation efforts that protect beer’s most valuable resource: clean water.”

“By signing onto conservation-oriented comment letters, putting together issue-focused beers, and raising funds for Washington Wild, our Brewshed® members are contributing to conservation efforts that protect beer’s most valuable resource: clean water.” —Chris Chappell, WA Wild Brewshed® Alliance Director

But the folks at Yakima Chief Hops don’t just talk the talk, they walk to walk as well. 

As detailed by an article by Keith Gribbins in the trade website Craft Brewing Business, “The hop farmer and supplier also has a big focus on reducing its carbon footprint. Back in 2020, Yakima Chief Hops announced its then-latest solar panel installation for a total of 3,706 solar panels. YCH’s solar array spans across six buildings, covering a total of 70,000 square feet and producing 1,414,766 kWh of electricity annually. YCH can capture 15% of its entire electricity demands and offset its annual emissions by 1,000 metric tons, equivalent to providing 170 homes with electricity for one year.” 

This year, YCH announced a new partnership with Zevero, an industry-leading carbon accounting organization. While YCH has reported its carbon emissions for years, YCH hopes this new partnership will accelerate the company’s transition to a net-zero economy. Zevero’s support will enable YCH to identify areas where it can reduce environmental impact more effectively.