Greene King, which operates more than 3,000 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK, made headlines last year after becoming the first non-household water customer to apply to provide its own retail services.

The retail water market aims to give customers more options for their water services, allowing them to negotiate with retailers regarding price and choose a service package to suit their needs. Greene King’s decision to obtain a self-supply license has led to notable water savings.

In the latest iteration of its annual sustainability report, published earlier this week, Greene King revealed that the switch to self-supply had enabled the company to reduce its water footprint by more than 140,000m3 since April 2017. Daily, Greene King has realised 384.32m3 in consumption savings – the equivalent of 676,313 pints.

The report states that Greene King’s full portfolio of 3,000 water supply points was switched during the move, and that the business has reaped “further benefits” from the switch. Site-level engagement was noted as a driver of efficiency, improved savings and greater control over supply in the report.

As a self-supply licensee, the Suffolk-based company does not pay retail margins added by suppliers in the open water market; has become a market participant including membership of MOSL with voting rights and the ability to directly influence the market, and can supply water services to multiple sites for its business.

To facilitate the switch to self-supply, Greene King partnered with Waterscan to take on the role and responsibilities for the retail functions, such as meter reading, central market operating system transactions and wholesaler management.

Businesses across England are already beginning to see the benefits of self-supply, with several large companies including hospitality firm Whitbread having been granted a licence since the water retail market opened in 2017. More than 100,000 supply points switched water retailer during the first 10 months of the market, according to figures released by the market operator MOSL.

Waste not, want not

Greene King’s sustainability report also details the company’s progress towards its 2020 target of sending zero waste to landfill, which it set last year following the launch of its partnership with waste management company SWR.

The report claims that Greene King last year diverted 98% of waste from landfill across its operations – a 3% year-on-year increase. This included 10,933 tonnes of food waste, which was sent to anaerobic digestion facilities where it produced enough electricity to power 9,840 UK homes for a month, according to the report.

Greene King additionally claims that it sent more than 3,000,000 litres of waste cooking oil from its kitchens for recycling.

Elsewhere, the company removed 100,000 boxes from its annual packaging requirements. The company achieved this packaging reduction by working with suppliers and distributors to introduce reusable containers for meat deliveries, the report states.

Sarah George

Comments (1)

  1. Graham Mann says:

    This is an interesting case study
    As a water industry expert I would question what the actual savings to the business are just by going self supply as this story only quotes savings on water saving and water management.
    The business does not have to obtain a water self supply licence to reduce water volume
    What would happen if their water partner WaterScan ceased trading Greene King would surley have massive and very serious issues managing their water self supply licence without them which has the potential for serious business interuption cauntion advised to any other business thinking of going down the water self supply route

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