22 April is Earth Day; a good day to report on the sustainability initiatives being pursued at Bedlam Brewery in the heart of Sussex!
Since being conceived on a vineyard on the edge of the South Downs National Park in 2011 and since 2018 being located on a nearby farm, the team at Bedlam have always been mindful of our obligations to the local environment and community. Renewable energy powers our brews and we donate spent grain direct to the cows on the farm – talk about zero waste miles!
“Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, our packaged direct to consumer business has grown exponentially” reports Rob Shepherd, Finance Director “and, in parallel, we’ve had more time to think about the beautiful environment that surrounds us. At the start of this year, we decided to ‘up our game’ when it comes to our commitment to protecting our environment and consequently we’ve set ourselves the ambitious goal of becoming a carbon negative business as soon as we can!”
This process started with an estimation of our current carbon footprint using established GreenHouse Gas accounting principles, incorporating Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 emissions based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
Having identified the largest contributors we’ve developed the following action plan for this year:
• Investigate economically viable options to improve the sustainability of the barley malt supplies, without obviously compromising on the much loved taste of our beer.
• Investigate economically viable options to increase the recycled glass content of our bottles. (Relatively thin glass used in most bottles currently widely available means they are not suitable for re-use but they are largely recycled).
• Consider whether currently available electrically driven vans can provide the high level of service we want to continue to provide to trade and consumer customers across Sussex and beyond.
• Investigate whether we can develop a viable reusable ‘growler’ delivery scheme with interested customers to reduce the amount of Mini Kegs, cans and bottles being sold.
In addition, we are entering into an offset scheme managed by Forest Carbon that comprises two parts:
1. Investing in a regulated scheme of forestry investments in the UK that will in time capture an amount of carbon equal to 100% of our currently estimated annual carbon footprint
2. Purchasing carbon credits from an existing international scheme equivalent to 100% of our currently estimated annual carbon footprint
Interestingly, we investigated directly with the main local Councils the extent to which our packaged products are recycled. Whilst the way in which products get to the recycling facilities differs by council, nearly 100% of all cans, bottles, mini kegs and cardboard is recycled, ie nothing is sent to landfill.