compelling case for farmers to adopt sustainable initiatives

compelling case for farmers to adopt sustainable initiatives

Embracing sustainability comes with a compelling business case, and like every other business, farmers need to be open to good ideas from other sectors – that was the message from the head of sustainability from one of the region’s leading brewers at the latest NFU/Lovewell Blake Farmers’ Evening in Halesworth.

Over 50 farmers heard Richard Carter from Adnams describe how the brewer has become one of the leaders in embracing sustainable ways of doing business, and how that stance has given the company a real competitive advantage.

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

“It’s a misconception that sustainability is a cost: wherever we see an environmental business case we see an economic one,” Mr Carter told the audience. “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.”

“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.”

Richard Carter was speaking at the latest in the series of Farmers’ Evenings in Halesworth organised by Suffolk Coastal NFU and Lovewell Blake. The next event takes place on Wednesday 6th December. Full details will be published shortly on the events page.

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