Adnams ‘Changing the world one beer at a time’

The Gryphon Business section are always keen to tell people about ethical businesses. I am an avid believer that acting ethically within business is no longer a decision that CEO’s should take lightly and it certainly should not be avoided. It is no mystery that the world consumes far more than it can handle. Consumerism is pushing our resources to their limit and capitalism can often drive companies to care little about people, in the pursuit of profits.  However, it is not all doom and gloom, more businesses are now becoming responsible for what they consume. They are beginning to realise that corporate social responsibility is a necessity. Business is not all about making a profit.

A company that is an example of this practice is Adnam’s plc. Adnam’s are a brewer and distiller based in the East of England. They make craft beer, wines and spirits as well as run various hotels and pubs around East Anglia. On their site in Southwold they have been brewing beer since 1872. Which has given them plenty of time to perfect their ethical practices. Their list of good business practices is vast, however, here are a few that really stood out to me.
Photo by Best DSC!

In 2007, Adnam’s spent £5.7m on a state of the art warehousing and distribution centre. The building had the biggest sedum roof in Britain when it was built and the energy savings on the site were estimated to be £49,000 per annum. The Sedum roof provides active insulation that keeps the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer! It also filters out pollutions in the air and helps purify it. The building was also fitted with a sustainable urban drainage system that enables rainwater to be harvested from the roof and other surfaces. This water is then used by Adnam’s to clean vehicles and flush toilets in the facility. Two collector solar panels on the roof provide up to 80% of the Distribution Centre’s requirements for hot water. These are great examples of how the company is being environmentally friendly and reducing their impact on the environment.

The Adnam’s community trust, was founded in 1990. It is funded by a percentage of Adnam’s annual profits, mandated dividends, donation and legacies. The trust awards grants to worthy causes within 25 miles of its Southwold Head Office. These grants are usually between £100-£2,500. This is a great statement of their sense of community value and care towards people. They also host an annual 10k sponsored run which gives the opportunity for 800 people to take part and raise money for worthy charities. It is not just people that Adnam’s help, they have also been doing their bit for the honey bee’s. They are the proud owners of a number of bee hives that are housed at their distribution site. The bee hives are taken from people’s gardens that would otherwise be exterminated. They are re-homed and looked after by a local bee keeper ensuring that the population of bees adnams-10k-low-res-008doesn’t further fall into decline.

In June this year, Adnam’s held its first inaugural Supplier conference and Awards. These awards recognised suppliers for their innovation, individuality, integrity, passion and environmental responsibilities. Not only do they encourage ethical practices internally they encourage businesses around them to do the same.

Adnam’s are not the biggest brewery in the beer industry, but, their commitment to sustainability and CSR has an impact far greater than most multi-national organisations around the UK. They are a business that takes CSR seriously and many could learn from their practices. Give them a look at and learn more about their sustainability story!


By Matthew Moore

(Images from Adnams, Hoptripper and Lillehedden)

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