Adnam’s carbon study marks environmental landmark

From left to right: Richard Carter (Adnams Retail Management Accountant), Greg Luxford (Adapt Low Carbon Group Deputy...

From left to right: Richard Carter (Adnams Retail Management Accountant), Greg Luxford (Adapt Low Carbon Group Deputy CEO), Benedict Orchard (Adnams Environmental Sustainability Manager), Peter Metcalfe (Adapt GHG Lifecycle Assessment & Product Carbon Footprinting), Chris Blincoe (Adapt Commercial Programme Manager) - Credit: Archant

Southwold-based Adnams claims to be the first brewer in the country to reveal the carbon footprint of its bottled beers.

The company joined forces with a carbon research body at the University of East Anglia (UEA) to better understand the environmental impact of its products, from the growth of the hops and the cereal, to the throwing away of the bottle.

And it discovered that each 500ml product released less carbon emissions then a pint of Tesco's semi-skimmed milk, but produced more carbon then a regular bottle of Coco-Cola.

The Adapt Low Carbon Group, which helped carry out the research, said it was important that companies became more environmentally aware because consumers were now making choices based on a product's sustainability.

The research follows a move by Adnams in 2008 to launch the first carbon-neutral beer East Green.

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Its research revealed that the carbon impact of Bitter was 529 gCO2, while Broadside was 576 gCO2; Explorer 544 gCO2; Ghost Ship 537 gCO2; Gunhill 541 gCO2; Innovation 592 gCO2; Lighthouse 535 gCO2; Sole Star 532 gCO2; Spindrift 711 gCO2; Tally-ho 652 gCO2.

Ben Orchard, environmental sustainability manager at Adnams, said: 'Understanding each product's environmental impact is a complicated and intricate piece of work – it's not as simple as just measuring electricity usage. Everything was considered, from growing the hops and cereal through to glass manufacture and label production. Now that we have this solid piece of ground work we can continue to produce results for all the other products made by Adnams.'

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Adnams and the Adapt Low Carbon Group ensured that its carbon calculations met the British industry standard, before seeking a third party verification from SGS – a company specialising in auditing standards and regulations.

Angela Larke, head of commercial administration at the Adapt Low Carbon Group, said: 'It's our experience that many consumers consider such factors as sustainability when making purchases and we would expect that this would become increasingly important in the future. Adnams is a leading local company that has successfully demonstrated how creating a more sustainable business model makes good business sense. For us, it is about demonstrating that low carbon goes hand in hand with so many other benefits. For example, through reducing energy usage or reducing waste, a business can reduce its financial overheads.

'There seems to be real positivity in the region around environmental issues and the activity of the UEA is a significant driver on these matters.'

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