North Yorkshire brewery applauded in green business showcase

Posted: Thursday 18th October 2012

A north Yorkshire brewery has been applauded for its efforts to reduce water usage and become a more socially responsible organisation.

Molson Coors, based at Tadcaster, is highlighted as part of the Environment Agency’s Greener Business showcase, ahead of the launch of the Greener Business Report.

The report documents environmental performance of regulated business across England and Wales, celebrating recent examples of innovative practices which demonstrate that British businesses are helping to drive green growth, despite tough economic times.

Molson Coors, the UK’s largest brewer, has been highlighted for the work it has done in cutting its water usage.

The brewery takes water from boreholes in the underlying magnesium limestone, which is rich in sulphate of lime and makes the water ideal for making bitter. Two years ago, these groundwater levels were observed to be in decline, and it was at this time that the Environment Agency offered to help the business to review its water efficiency with long-term sustainability in mind.

The Environment Agency hosted lunchtime engagement sessions for brewery staff and met with management to discuss declining water levels, drought, and to explore some simple actions that the business could take.

The business invested in equipment to improve its water efficiency, which cleans and reuses water from some of the brewery’s non-production processes. Now, the firm is using less water in its operations: 3.3 pints of water were being used in the production of each pint of beer in 2011, a reduction of 13 per cent since 2008 when 3.8 pints of water were used per pint.

Molson Coors has also acted to assume the role of ‘water custodian’, encouraging the local community to value its local water resources – a particularly beneficial ambition, given that many local people work at one of the local breweries. The firm initiated the Tadcaster River Wharfe Community User Group to encourage local ownership in the river, and it is hosting a charity event at the local swimming pool this month along with a charity duck race to publicise the group’s activity.

James Finigan, a technical specialist at the Environment Agency, said: “A good water supply is essential to the sustainability of Molson Coors’ business, so when I highlighted to them that we had some concerns about groundwater levels near Tadcaster, they were keen to know what they could do to help. The firm already had a corporate social responsibility commitment to manage their water wisely, so the business was receptive to the idea of change.

“As well as improving their own water efficiency, Molson Coors have taken the lead in setting up the Tadcaster River Wharfe Community Users Group, to help local people to understand the importance of the river. It’s a valuable move for themselves as a business, because in becoming a more environmentally-responsible operation, they are contributing to their own future. The Environment Agency is working with many businesses in this way to help them conserve water, so we all have enough for our homes and businesses and to protect our valuable natural environment.”

Lee Finney, director and chief supply officer at Molson Coors, said: “We believe that good business practices embrace environmental stewardship and in promoting and encouraging sustainable water practices, Molson Coors has not only helped the local area but successfully challenged and changed its business culture.”

The Environment Agency already works with many organisations to help them manage their environmental impacts, but is also keen to recognise the SMEs, entrepreneurs and other businesses helping to improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions.

Lord Chris Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, said: “Whilst current economic circumstances prioritise a focus on profitability, it is essential that businesses strive for growth that is truly sustainable. ‘Green’ and ‘growth’ are both essential elements of economic and social recovery. We cannot opt for either in isolation.

“The shift in business attitudes towards green growth is remarkable and very welcome. We want to recognise the organisations, from individual entrepreneurs to global industries, striving for leaner, more efficient and less wasteful economic development.

“By seizing opportunities to reduce their burden on the natural environment and develop the products and services needed to adjust to climate change and environmental challenges, these organisations are setting an outstanding example.”

This week, the Environment Agency and Waterwise announce the winners of their UK Water Efficiency Awards, which celebrate creative and practical ways in which organisations are cutting water consumption. More information on the awards can be seen on the Waterwise website at

Anyone with an interest in greener business is encouraged to get involved by sharing their experiences, stories and advice via twitter using #greenerbusiness. They can also share case studies of best practice via the Environment Agency’s Facebook page at

More information on the Greener Business Showcase is available at

The Environment Agency has also set itself tough targets in order to improve its own environmental performance. More information can be found at

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