Asda to fund nature regeneration scheme at Yorkshire vodka distillery

Asda is providing funding to one of its own-brand vodka suppliers to facilitate the regeneration of local woodland, wet grassland and wildflower meadow as it works towards regenerative supply chains by 2040.

Asda to fund nature regeneration scheme at Yorkshire vodka distillery

Pictured: Ellers Farm Distillery and Asda staff at the project site

The supermarket giant announced this week that Ellers Farm Distillery in Stamford Bridge, Yorkshire, has won a £10,000 prize through its Asda Supplier Sustainability Exchange initiative. This platform was launched ten years ago in partnership with supply chain climate service provider Manufacture 2030, in an aim to coordinate action that supports suppliers reduce their emissions and improve sustainable sourcing practices.

This specific competition was open to all 2,000+ Asda suppliers signed up to the platform and, to win funding, applicants had to prove how their project would either decrease their negative impact on nature or create a regenerative, positive nature impact.

Ellers Farm Distillery’s project falls into this latter category. The distiller is planning to plant heritage apple orchard on its land, thus reducing its need to purchase apples from elsewhere. This will reduce emissions from transport emissions and the orchard should also serve to improve biodiversity and soil quality on the land.

Also set to be created on the land is mixed native woodland. When combined with the apple orchard, 2.3 hectares will be covered. In addition, Ellers Farm Distillery is planning to restore half a hectare of wet grassland and wildflower meadow in the area surrounding the distillery. It claims that the project will have an overall regenerative impact on the local environment.

Work on the project is set to begin in the next planting season for the distillery, which begins this October and runs through to March 2023.

Ellers Farm Distillery has already supported nature conservation, creation and restoration projects outside of its operations by partnering with Ecologi to buy nature-based emissions credits. It has also taken steps to reduce the impact of its operations in partnership with ClimatePartner. However, this will be the firm’s first local, at-scale nature restoration project.

As for Asda, the supermarket is aiming to ensure that its value chain has a regenerative impact on nature by 2040 and that all of its grocery ingredients and products are sustainably sourced. It will publish a nature stewardship plan before 2025 and, also by this point, has pledged to end unsustainable sourcing for its top 20 commodities.

“We loved the Ellers Farm project’s simplicity and commitment to the distillery’s surrounding area, whilst being able to see a project that showed clear stages of implementation and delivery,” said Asda’s sustainability coordinator Emma Gibson. “We are very much looking forward to seeing Ellers Farm’s plans unfold over the next year and seeing the prize money being used on such an important area of sustainability.’’

The news from Asda comes in the same week that the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) released the latest pilot version of its to help corporates outline and disclose nature-related risks and impacts in alignment with corporate reporting, as it builds towards a full release in 2023.

To read edie’s recent roundup detailing seven nature restoration and protection initiatives to have received support from the private sector this year, click here.

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