Many believe that, as long as they recycle, they are doing their bit for the environment. But one company understands that this is simply not enough.

Adnams, based in the Suffolk town of Southwold, prides itself on being one of the most eco-efficient breweries in Europe. Its commitment to the environment is illustrated in its approach to business. And it offers an example of how business and environmentalism can go hand-in-hand.

Its new distribution centre is an innovative structure. The roof is a blanket of sedum plants, which creates natural insulation. Solar panels provide 80% of the hot water needed for operations. Reed beds purify wastewater to protect local wildlife. And rainwater is collected for toilet flushing and vehicle washing.

When faced with the decision to build the new centre the company did not take the usual route of relocating to a newly built but environmentally damaging location. Instead, Adnams chose a disused gravel site on the outskirts of Southwold.

Such is the investment made in the site that Adnams has been awarded the highest standard of environmental performance in building design by the BRE – a BREEAM rating of excellent. All of these factors have had an impact on the company’s fuel bills, which demonstrates that investment upfront can pay dividends for a sustainable future as energy costs rise.

Managing director Andy Wood is a strong believer in sustainable business practice. “At Adnams we want to make sure that our impact on society is a positive one, expressing the company’s values in ways which combine social and business benefits with long-term sustainable success,” he says.

Adnams also applies a green-fingered approach to its products. It recently designed a lightweight bottle, with the government’s Waste and Resources Action Programme has described as “beyond best in class, leaping forward from gradual evolution to creating a truly revolutionary bottle”.

The new bottle has been coined as “right weight”, which means as much glass as possible has been taken out, while still retaining all the brand integrity.

This statistics speak for themselves:

  • The new bottle design and manufacturing process reduces the company’s glass usage by 624 tonnes a year
  • The reduction in the carbon footprint is 415 tonnes of CO2 a year
  • A reduction of 415 tonnes of CO2 a year is equivalent to taking 138 cars off the road
  • Getting 138 cars off the road equates to Adnams taking its whole sales force off the road for a year and neutralising all employees’ commutes

In a world of discerning customers and shareholders, Adnams is demonstrating a belief that a sustainable approach adds significant value in producing better

business results.

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