Sustainability Commitment

T he issues surrounding our changing climate, and its implications, demonstrate the huge task we must all undertake to save our planet. If ever there was a time to act for our changing world, surely it is now.

At St Austell Brewery, we care passionately about operating in a sustainable way for our environment. We’re working with some of the UK’s largest hospitality operators on practical plans to reduce – and then eliminate – our industry’s carbon footprint. As a business, we’re committed to reaching net-zero before 2040.

Here are some of the actions we have already taken in our commitment to become one of the UK's greenest brewers.

 

We’ve joined the Zero Carbon Forum

We are official members of the newly formed Zero Carbon Forum, pledging our commitment to decarbonising our business for future generations. The Zero Carbon Forum is a non-profit organisation, empowering members to reach sustainability targets with more speed, efficiency, and profit as a united effort.

With defined roadmaps – backed by peers, government, and leading sustainability experts – the Zero Carbon Forum has ambitious net-zero targets (to eliminate operational emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero across supply chains by 2040). Read more about the Zero Carbon Forum here, and view the roadmap here.

We will be setting our own net-zero targets this year, so watch this space for further updates.

Zero Scope 2 emissions

When renewing our energy contracts in June 2020, we switched to REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin). As a result of procuring 100% REGO backed renewable electricity, we were able to declare zero Scope 2 emissions, from July 2020 onwards. This reduced our carbon emissions by 11.2% in just four months.

When combined with the significant reduction in consumption as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, our CO₂ emissions decreased by 40.2% in the 12 months to December 2020.

Green CO₂ supply

We’ve made the switch to a 100% renewable and sustainable CO₂ supply – both in St Austell and at our sister site, Hare Brewery – home of Bath Ales. CO₂ is a crucial component in the brewing and production process. Examples of its uses include the carbonation of our packaged beers, the purging of road tankers, and the pressurising of kegs.

Our new supply is sourced locally from green energy specialist, BioCarbonics Ltd, which generates green CO₂ from maize grown in the South West. The maize is broken down naturally via a process called anaerobic digestion, which produces the gas. Being a local supplier also reduces road miles. Read more about our supply here.

Solar arrays

Our 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 hope to implement further projects to strengthen our renewable credentials in future, as technology in this area continues to develop.

Reducing our usage

We continue to look at ways where we can reduce our water usage and the environmental impact of our brewhouse operations. Examples include fitting all water hoses with smaller diameter pipes, trigger high pressure guns, the installation of conical vessels, continuous review of cleaning regimes and brewhouse operations (sparge volumes, spent grain water wastage, heat exchanger control etc), all of which will help reduce water consumption. Other actions we’ve taken include installing an economiser on our boiler, reducing boil times, and carrying out ongoing investigations into replacing kerosene fuel with greener alternatives.

We have made huge inroads so far in reducing our water usage. In the year 2000, it took our brewing team 13 pints of water to produce a pint of beer. In 2021, it takes just four pints of water.

Our effluent plant

Our effluent plant helps us to recycle our used water. It uses bacteria to break down organic matter, reducing the amount of treatment that is then required at our local wastewater plant.

Environmental benefits include the production of green biomethane – this powers the CHP (combined heat and power) engine installed at the plant, which generates up to 65kW of electricity per hour. The water used to cool the engine also provides the heat required to keep the bacteria warm, happy, and actively producing bio-methane. The plant also treats heavy effluent, reducing our road miles by 12,000 miles.

We’ve been working in partnership with waste management firm, Cornwall Waste Solutions (CWS), since 2017, helping us achieve ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ status across our core waste and recycling operations.

Since joining forces, we've worked with CWS towards reducing our environmental footprint, improving waste segregation, and helping to divert 100% of our waste from landfill. Food waste from our managed pubs is sent to Anaerobic Digestion plants to be composted, glass is sent back to the glass production chain to be recycled, and mixed recycling cardboard and plastic is sent back into the manufacturing process. Our general waste is sent to ‘waste to energy’ recovery plants to be converted into electricity. Read more here.

Our suppliers

As a business, we’re 100% committed to local and sustainable sourcing. We are passionate about ensuring everything we do is both environmentally sound and economically valuable. We expect the same of our suppliers and their interconnected supply chains, so only seek to work with companies that share our values.

When making agreements with new suppliers, across our business, we always ask to see a copy of their Corporate Social Responsibility policy first. This is important to us. We ask plenty of questions and follow a rigorous process to ensure that they meet our standards before welcoming them on board. This includes considerations about human rights, health and safety, and their ethical policies when making buying decisions.

Supporting the local economy

We have built up a trusted network of local West Country suppliers over the years, the vast majority of which are based in Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset, and many are family-owned. We are proud to say that all of the food and drink we serve our customers is purchased from suppliers in our South West heartland, and we’re committed to sourcing as much sustainable local produce as we possibly can.

For example, all fresh fish served in our managed Cornish pubs is now guaranteed to be caught in Newlyn, and all our dairy is sourced from Rodda’s - a 130-year-old, family-owned creamery in Cornwall.

Working with local farms

We source barley from local farms, reducing road miles. In total, almost 900 acres of Cornish farmland has been cultivated to grow Maris Otter – exclusively for the brewery – which has the potential to produce up to 1,500 tonnes of barley.

Our former Brewing Director, Roger Ryman – who sadly passed away in May 2020 – set up the Cornwall Maris Otter Partnership in 2002. His aim was to reintroduce the variety as a staple crop in the county and form long-lasting relationships with farmers, to ensure a ready supply for the brewery. The partnership is one of our key initiatives in supporting the local economy and cutting transport mileage. Our commitment to local sourcing was instrumental to the business receiving a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in 2018.

Our green fleet

Our new fleet vehicles are 100% hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or fully electric. As a business, we are no longer procuring pure petrol or diesel cars – a huge step forward in reducing our carbon emissions. We will shortly be installing charging points at our breweries in St Austell and Bath, Heathfield depot, and CDC.

There’s fantastic work being done at our tenanted pubs. For example, Mark Holden and Justin Barnett (Victoria Inn, Roche; Victoria Inn, Threemilestone; and Norway Inn, Perranworthal) have installed solar panels - from Naked Solar - on all three of their sites. This is the latest step they've taken to use more renewable energy as a business. Mark and Justin also invested in a fleet of electric cars to deliver Pub Grub to shielding customers during the pandemic. They've continued to offer this takeaway service and have installed charging stations outside their pubs.

Martin and Natalie Watts at The Travellers Rest in Trevarrian Hill are helping local children learn more about the environment with the opening of a wildlife zone and eco-friendly play area.

They have been opened with expert help and a community services fund grant from Pub is The Hub, the not-for-profit organisation that helps pubs to diversify and provide essential local services. The wildlife zone has a pond as well as chickens and ducks, plus hedgehog shelters have also been built to allow for their hibernation. Read more here.

Since its launch in 2003, the St Austell Brewery Charitable Trust has been supporting local charities, good causes, and individuals in need across the South West.

The Trust is funded by contributions from the Brewery, along with donations and money raised through fundraising events held by our tenants, head office staff, managed house teams, and free trade customers. To date, the Charitable Trust has raised over £850,000. One of our biggest fundraisers since the Trust first launched is the annual Celtic Beer Festival. Held in the Brewery cellars, the event has so far generated more than £200,000. Every penny goes straight back to local communities where it is needed most.

Our Charity of the Year for 2021 is the Marine Conservation Society – a UK charity campaigning for a cleaner, better-protected, healthier ocean. The charity tackles threats to habitats and species by working closely with communities, businesses, and governments, organising beach cleans and shaping government policy. We donate 20p from each portion of fish and chips sold in our managed houses to the charity.

Other charities supported by the Trust include the RNLI, Cornwall Air Ambulance, Children’s Hospice South West, Macmillan Cancer Support, and many others. Over a third of all money raised is donated to individuals and small local groups across the region. 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.

Pub is The Hub

We are very 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 team have also been closely involved in supporting the South West region for Pub is The Hub for over a decade.

Grassroots sports sponsorships

We are proud to support a number of sports clubs across the South West, sponsoring many clubs and sports leagues across the region.

We support grass roots rugby in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset as the Official Beer of South West Rugby and sponsor 14 different leagues and many local teams. 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.

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.

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