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Sustainability has a compelling business case for East Anglian farmers, says Adnams expert

Richard Carter head of sustainability at Adnams. Picture: Sarah Groves

Richard Carter head of sustainability at Adnams. Picture: Sarah Groves

Sarah Groves

East Anglian farmers have a “compelling business case” to adopt environmental initiatives and must be open to good ideas from other sectors, according to an expert from the brewing industry.

Richard Carter, head of sustainability at Adnams, spoke to more than 50 guests at a farmers’ evening in Halesworth, run by accountancy firm Lovewell Blake and the Suffolk Coastal branch of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

Mr Carter explained how the Southwold-based brewery has embraced sustainable ways of doing business, and how that stance has given the company a competitive advantage.

“It’s a misconception that sustainability is a cost: wherever we see an environmental business case we see an economic one,” he said. “That can be as simple as trust in our brand being strengthened by behaving responsibly, but in fact it is almost always about business resilience or simple cost saving.

“We are a brewer, so we can’t tell farmers what to do. But agriculture is an important partner industry for us – we rely on local production of barley – and we try to learn from our growers as well as sharing how the initiatives we have undertaken could help their businesses too.”

Mr Carter outlined examples of sustainability programmes which have contributed to the success of Adnams, including eliminating waste to landfill, ensuring that 100pc of the firm’s electricity comes from renewable sources, and developing lighter bottles to reduce the impact of transportation, glass cost and packaging recovery notes.

“We can learn a great deal from people in different sectors,” he told the meeting. “For example, we came back from a visit to the National Trust in Anglesey with lots of ideas which we then implemented back in Southwold, including second generation heat recovery and electric vehicle charging points.

“Farming too can seek new ideas from outside agriculture. The sector has already embraced many environmental technologies, but it is an area which is developing fast. New approaches such as circularity and the sustainable development goals are cross-sector opportunities.”

The next NFU / Lovewell Blake farmers’ evening takes place on December 6. Full details will be published at www.lovewell-blake.co.uk/events.

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