Meet the finalists: Best Sustainable Pub Company sponsored by Sky

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Green initiatives: these businesses have outlined how they are progressing on their sustainable missions
Green initiatives: these businesses have outlined how they are progressing on their sustainable missions

Related tags Events Publican awards Multi-site pub operators Pubco + head office Social responsibility

Finalists in this year’s Best Sustainable Pub Company category have been impressing the judges with their significant and concerted effort to reduce waste

The Alchemist

Bar operator The Alchemist became a carbon neutral business in 2021, following its partnership with Carbon Neutral Britain. Among the renewable projects it supports are planting trees in developing countries, including Tanzania. Around 2,700 trees have so far been planted through a customer donation on a specific cocktail.

Other successful customer campaigns include its ‘Sustainable Supper Club’, which saw strong collaboration with its suppliers and great feedback from attendees, with sustainability tips and recipes amplified through an impactful social media campaign too.

Its fully edible cocktail, including the cup, has also helped raise customer awareness of its focus on sustainability, whilst other positive steps The Alchemist has taken around its drinks offer include moving to draught tonic and filtered water, reusing fruit and coffee grounds to make cocktail syrups, dehydrating leftover fruit for cocktail garnishes and using reusable kegs for some spirits.

Effective energy saving measures include appliance timers, water restrictors and sensor taps, a VAV system for kitchen extracts, energy efficient equipment, hot water pipe insulation and LED and sensor lighting.

Food menus have a big focus on plant-based dishes and produce with strong sustainability credentials, including fish and Rubies ketchup are also embraced. Seven sites also now have an ORCA waste management system to convert any food waste to drain safe liquid. Chopping boards are also resurfaced to increase lifespan.

Impactful team engagement schemes include having ‘Green Keepers’ in each bar and head office, which sees a staff member incentivised to champion and oversee sustainability focused processes and initiatives which has helped to increase team buy in.

The company’s strong focus on sustainability is also a key reason why many of its team members highly rate working for The Alchemist.


Marston’s commitment to building long-term sustainability is impressive and the company has led the way within the pub industry in many areas, including being the first pub company to achieve zero waste to landfill in 2018, becoming the second company in the country to operate a self-supply water license (which has made a big impact on driving down its consumption) and leading the charge on EV charging, including establishing the first Rapid EV Charger hub in hospitality last year, with the company now having the second biggest independent charging network in the UK.

The company’s energy team has become a leader in smart business working and is now a Green Apple Ambassador and Marston’s is also leading by example in the sustainable design and practices at its new head office in Wolverhampton.

Marston’s takes a ‘business as normal’ approach to sustainability, believing it is not about what a business has done last week, last month or last year or big promises for tomorrow, but is about normalising it across the business through commitment, business decisions, education and culture so behavioural change happens.

Efficiency tables, quarterly awards and new mandatory sustainability training and energy audits help keep sustainability on all team members’ agenda, with pubs who exceed green targets celebrated and solutions offered for those finding them more difficult.

Other initiatives which have made a big impact include all managed houses having LED lighting, building management systems in a growing number of sites, refurbishing furniture, significant investment in garden furniture made from 100% recycled plastic waste and bedding from its lodge rooms being also recycled and repurposed.

Simplification of its menu formats, reducing the number of products stocked, more cross-utilisation of products and ingredients and a partnership with Too Good To Go has also achieved significant wins on reducing food waste.

The company has also created strong partnerships with its suppliers, including equipment suppliers, to help support its sustainability aims.

Mitchells & Butlers

As one of the biggest hospitality operators in the UK, Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) is helping to lead the way in how the industry can reduce its impact on the planet thorough its strategy of ‘Making Every Moment Matter through Sustainable Choices’.

The company has committed to stretching sustainability targets, including long-term Science Based Target Initiative targets and working with the World Resources Institute on the Cool Food Pledge Programme - an emissions reduction plan designed to lessen the overall emissions of the food it serves.

Mitchells & Butlers is also demonstrating the drive to deliver those targets, through the significant progress it is making in key focus areas and is engraining a more sustainable way of working across all levels of the business, with a ‘how’ not ‘if’ culture.

Among impactful initiatives making a positive difference are the company’s sustainable equipment programme, where previously redundant kit is assessed, stored, cleaned, tested, and serviced for use elsewhere: significantly reducing its use of landfill. Furniture is also upcycled and reused within the company’s investment programme or donated to charity.

Significant investment is also being made in new technologies and innovations, which are being adopted across the company to help achieve its goals, including renewable energies and solar PV. There is also an impressive strategy, which has made strong progress already, to switch from gas to electric kitchen kit across the estate.

Investment in kit to help reduce operational energy, including the largest single rollout of voltage optimisers and EndoTherms, is also reaping strong results.

A network of energy ambassadors - team members who conduct energy audits within a given district of sites to help support behavioural change, has also had a positive impact on energy savings and added an interesting new dimension to staff roles.

M&B has also boldly trialled, with consumers in two brands, low emission dishes on menus, which has delivered a significant emission reduction.

The company also saves a significant amount of food going to waste through successful partnerships with FareShare and Too Good to Go.

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