Major shake-up for Adnams' award-winning sustainability team

EXCLUSIVE: Suffolk-based Brewer Adnams has lost its two-strong sustainability team, with environmental sustainability manager Benedict Orchard set to depart the company this summer, shortly after the firm's head of finance and sustainability Richard Carter moved on to take up lecturing.

Benedict Orchard (centre-right) and Richard Carter (centre left) collecting the Water Management Award at edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2019

Benedict Orchard (centre-right) and Richard Carter (centre left) collecting the Water Management Award at edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2019

Orchard, who is a member of edie's 30 Under 30 Class of 2019, first joined Adnams as an environmental intern seven years ago and was swiftly promoted to environmental sustainability manager.

Carter, meanwhile – who led the team for almost seven years – has been working at West Suffolk College since May, where he now delivers classes and courses covering financial accounting, analysis and strategy.

Thanks to their combined efforts, Adnams has become a real industry leader on the sustainability and CSR agenda; achieving zero-waste-to-landfill status and switching to 100% renewable power for business operations under a strategy that effectively links suppliers, internal teams and competitors together in tackling emissions, waste, water and biodiversity loss.

The firm also made a number of innovative green changes to its packaging, such as changing its Spindrift bottle from blue to brown glass – a move which has saved the company £25,000 annually and reduced the carbon footprint of the packaging by 21% – and completing a series of redesigns to lightweight its beer bottles.

As such, the pair have won several of edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards over the years – including the Water Management Award in 2019 and 2017, and the Sustainability Manager of the Year Award in 2018 for Orchard.

'Great experience' 

Speaking exclusively to edie, 29-year-old Orchard explained that he is stepping down from his current role in Southwold in order to relocate with his wife to the West Midlands, where she has been given the opportunity to begin a new career venture.

Orchard described his time at Adnams as “seven years of fantastic achievement, great experience and real fun” and explained that, while he is yet to confirm his next venture, he will “keep an open mind and [his] phone on loud”, as he strives to drive further sustainability “transformations” elsewhere.  

“I have personally loved being able to implement projects that not only had large climate-positive impacts, but also those that have been more engaging and environmentally regenerative,” Orchard said. “I am leaving in the knowledge that Adnams is the strongest it has ever been in its leadership in sustainable business and I am confident this will continue way beyond my time there. It is time to pass on the reigns to a fresh pair of eyes who can bring something new and progress Adnams even further whilst enjoying the lovely culture and leadership within.”

Award-winners

For Carter, last month's move away from Adnams was part of a plan to use his experience and expertise to influence a wider demographic of young, up-and-coming business leaders – something he is particularly passionate about.

Carter told edie: “Although I'll be focused chiefly on accounting and finance, I've proven repeatedly that this goes hand-in-hand with sustainability and responsible business. Indeed, my first two lectures are going to be on CSR and sustainability. This gives me the opportunity to influence many more people from the next generation of business leaders hopefully share with them what an important and exciting area this is.

I think it's fair to say that Ben and I achieved a great deal at Adnams over the last seven years and those achievements have been recognised in 14 major awards during our tenure. Without question, the most significant of those was Benedict becoming edie's Sustainability Manager of the Year in 2018. I was enormously proud of him for that."

Despite his move, Carter has remained on the board at IEMA, the National Trust and at Ashden, where he serves within the Fit for the Future Network.

Commenting on the changes, Adnams’ head of corporate affairs Oliver Drury thanked both Orchard and Carter for their efforts, adding: “As a pioneer in the field of sustainability for many years with national recognition for our use of energy and waste reducing technology, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.

"We continue to be committed to working alongside international organisations, businesses and members of the public to protect our planet and the rich biodiversity of our environment.”

Drury added that the moves "did not, by any means, mean that Adnams is disbanding its sustainability team". The company is currently actively recruiting for new sustainability professionals and has said it is "keeping its options open" in regards to how it will structure the sustainability team going forward. 

Sarah George



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