How St Austell Family Group supports local communities

S t Austell Family Group has a rich heritage that stretches back over 170 years. Our pubs form part of the fabric of local communities and we work hard to support the people and causes that sit right at the heart of everything we do.

Some of our social responsibility projects have been ongoing for decades, particularly the charity and community support initiatives we are heavily involved in, and we’re proud to have such strong and long-standing relationships. We are also proud of our sustainability work and the various projects we have going on to act responsibly and ensure we invest for the right reasons.

Looking ahead, we want to build on our history and create a progressive, sustainable, and future-looking business that’s fit for future generations to come. Here are some of the ways we are doing just that and have been for some time.

 

St Austell Brewery Charitable Trust

The St Austell Brewery Charitable Trust launched in 2003 and has been supporting local charities, good causes, and individuals in need across the South West ever since.

The Trust is funded by contributions from the brewery, along with donations and money raised through fundraising events held by our head office, depot, pub teams, and free trade customers. To date, the Charitable Trust has raised over £850,000. Among our largest fundraisers is the annual Celtic Beer Festival; the event is held in the brewery cellars and has so far generated more than £200,000.

A plethora of charities of all sizes receive our support, including the RNLI, Cornwall Air Ambulance, Children’s Hospice South West, and Macmillan Cancer Support. Over a third of all money raised is donated to individuals and small local groups. In Christmas 2020, we donated £20,000 to foodbanks near our breweries in St Austell and Bath, and thanked key workers by donating £5,000 to NHS Charities Together, which represents and supports the work of official NHS charities throughout the South West and beyond.

The Trust also donates towards individual causes on a regular basis – over £26,000 in 2020. These donations varied from small local charities to individual pieces of equipment like wheelchairs which have transformed people’s lives. We have seen a marked increase in requests since the pandemic and continue to think of ways to fundraise in order to help those in need in our communities.

Our managed pubs, inns and hotels often contribute to the Trust. For example, our Charity of the Year in 2021 was the Marine Conservation Society – a UK charity campaigning for a cleaner, better-protected, healthier ocean – and we donated 20p from each portion of fish and chips sold in our managed houses to the charity.

 

More than just a pub

Pubs can offer much more than a place to dine and be merry. We’re proud to support Pub is The Hub, an organisation of specialist voluntary advisors for rural pubs and licensees who are thinking of broadening their range of services. You can find out more about the organisation here.

In partnership with Pub is The Hub, we have encouraged some of our own great licensees to work with communities and provide additional services, such as the community libraries at The Old Inn at Mullion and The Crown Inn, Goldsithney, near Penzance. Our teams have been closely involved in supporting the South West region for Pub is The Hub for over a decade.

In 2021, we celebrated a new partnership with Only a Pavement Away; a charity that helps people facing or experiencing homelessness, prison leavers and veterans, by placing them into long-term, stable employment in the hospitality industry.

We are working closely with the charity to bring more people going through difficult times into secure and sustainable jobs, helping them to rebuild their lives through work at our pubs and across the business. Read more about the partnership here.

 

Supporting grassroots sport

Just like the local pub, grassroots sports clubs and sports leagues are part of the lifeblood of communities, and we support a variety across the West Country.

Rugby, football, and cricket are woven into the identity of many South West counties. We back grassroots rugby in Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset, as the Official Beer of South West Rugby. Not only that, but we sponsor 14 different leagues and many local teams too. Tribute is also the Official Beer of Plymouth Argyle and also features at Exeter City and Truro City, as well as many high profile non-league football clubs.

In 2013, Tribute became the main title sponsor of Somerset County Cricket and appears on shirts in all forms of the game. In addition, Bath Ales Gem is sponsor of Gloucestershire County Cricket team.

Surfing is synonymous with the spirit of life beside the coast. korev is the official sponsor of Surfing England, the National Governing Body for the Sport of Surfing in England. It’s run by surfers, and supports surf coaches, surf clubs, and surf schools nationwide. In 2020, korev also became the official sponsor of the Cornish Gig Rowing Association - a traditional sport which is hugely popular in our home county.

 

Caring for the environment

We care passionately about operating in a sustainable way for our environment. Taking steps to protect the beautiful and unique place we call home helps to safeguard the future of its communities.

St Austell Brewery works with some of the UK’s largest hospitality operators on practical plans to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, our industry’s carbon footprint. As a business, we’re committed to reaching net-zero before 2040. We are official members of the newly formed Zero Carbon Forum, pledging our commitment to decarbonising our business for future generations. The Forum is a non-profit organisation, empowering members to achieve sustainability targets with more efficiency and profit as a united effort.

We switched to REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) when renewing our energy contracts in June 2020. As a result of procuring 100% REGO backed renewable electricity, we were able to declare zero Scope 2 emissions. This reduced our carbon emissions by 11.2% in just four months, and they dropped by 40.2% in the 12 months to December 2020.

We also have a 100% renewable and sustainable CO₂ supply – both in St Austell and at Hare Brewery – the home of Bath Ales. Our new supply is sourced locally from green energy specialist, BioCarbonics Ltd, which generates green CO₂ from maize grown locally. CO₂ plays a significant role in the brewing and production process. Read more about our supply here.

Solar arrays at St Austell Brewery, Hare Brewery, and our Central Distribution Centre produced enough electricity to power over 100 homes in 2020, reducing our emissions by over 90 tonnes of CO₂.

We have made significant inroads in reducing our water usage. In 2000, it took our brewing team 13 pints of water to produce a pint of beer. Today, it takes just four pints. We have an effluent plant that helps us to recycle our used water by using bacteria to break down organic matter. This reduces the amount of treatment that is then required at our local wastewater plant.

Finally, we’ve worked hard to ensure that all of the general waste from our managed pubs is sent to ‘waste to energy’ recovery plants. Rather than being dumped in landfill, it is converted into electricity instead. We achieved ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ status across our core waste and recycling operations in 2017, working in partnership with Cornwall Waste Solutions. Read more here.

 

Keeping things local and ethical

The West Country is bursting with delicious, quality produce, and we’ve built a trusted network of local suppliers – the vast majority are family-owned and based in Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset. All of the food and drink we serve our customers is purchased from South West suppliers, and we’re committed to sourcing as much sustainable local produce as we possibly can.

For example, we source barley for our beer from local farms, which reduces road miles, all fresh fish served in our Cornish managed pubs is caught in Newlyn, and all our dairy is sourced from Rodda’s - a 130-year-old, family-owned creamery in Cornwall.

Being local is one thing, but being sustainable is equally important. We ensure everything we do is environmentally sound and economically valuable, and we expect the same of our suppliers and their interconnected supply chains. When seeking companies to work with, it’s imperative that they share our values.

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