Why operators need to ensure sustainability is at the heart of their business

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

How pubs can be more sustainable

Related tags Sustainability Social responsibility Pubco + head office

The Morning Advertiser has launched the Green Initiative, supported by Molson Coors Beverage Company and Brewfitt, to highlight the benefits and opportunities being more environmentally friendly can have on business.
  • Want to learn more about sustainability? Sign up to our dedicated webinar taking place later this month here​.

A recent snap survey of The Morning Advertiser ​readers revealed more than three quarters of participants (77%) believed the sector was not environmentally friendly enough.

Molson Coors Beverage Company UK on-trade director Martyn Cozens said: “We know many operators are facing – and recovering from – challenges that feel closer to home than the global climate crisis.

“But the good news is that as well as having obvious environmental benefits, becoming more resource and energy efficient is good for your business – and it can help to attract consumers and motivate staff. The key is knowing where to start, which is what the Green Initiative campaign is all about.”

Furthermore, when asked how important sustainability was to their customers, the majority stated it held importance to their guests.

Around half (58%) of those who answered the question said sustainability was ‘somewhat important’ to those who visit their premises, about 13% said ‘very important’ however, over a fifth (21%) said it was ‘not very important’, 3% said ‘not at all’, and 4% were unsure.

The majority (92%) of those surveyed do take sustainability into account within their business with many (88%) changed their lighting, 43% having installed energy saving equipment in cellars and more than a third (37%) with energy saving equipment in the kitchen.

Some (38%) have changed suppliers, nearly half (48%) switched to local suppliers, while the same percentage (48%) have reduced their food waste, one in three (33%) use sustainability-based training for staff and 58% have installed timer switches.

Brewfitt director Curtis Paxman: "Brewfitt is thrilled to support the green initiative, reflecting our deep passion for the industry. Preserving the environment, reducing costs, and safeguarding the industry's long-term future are at the core of our commitment. By making positive changes, we actively contribute to creating a greener, sustainable future. Together, let's build a thriving and environmentally responsible hospitality industry."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top reason for reducing energy usage was to save money with almost 88% of those surveyed opting for this however, caring about the environment was also a popular choice with nearly 84% choosing this reason.

Moreover, many respondents (60%) plumped for having a strong environmentally friendly reputation with customers as one of the reasons for reducing energy usage while maintaining relationships with local suppliers was opted for by more than a third (35%) of participants.

Sector food waste

As revealed in the survey, food waste is one area operators have looked to reduce in order to be more environmentally friendly and the most recent research from charity the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which was from 2011, showed the cost of food being wasted in the UK from the hospitality and food sector is estimated at £2.5bn.

Further data from 2020 revealed the amount of food waste generated by households and the hospitality and food service industry as a percentage of the amounts of food purchased were similar at between 16% and 18% respectively. It also showed food waste from the sector made up 12% of the total UK food waste.

The British Beer & Pub Association’s chief executive Emma McClarkin an ambassador of WRAP’s food reduction campaign Guardians of Grub.

She said: “Our sector is leading the way globally on sustainability thanks to the investment and innovation of our brewers and pub companies.

“From training staff in energy saving to investing in more environmentally friendly drinks dispensing systems and packaging, we are continuing to strive for a cleaner, greener future.

“In the current climate of serious cost-pressures on businesses, pubs more than ever need support from Government to be able to invest in vital upgrades to efficiency and embrace new sustainable technologies.”

Remaining flexible is something operators have had to do more than ever over the past few years and this is also the case when it comes to ensuring sustainability is part of their business, according to British Institute of Innkeeping chief executive Steve Alton.

Collaboration at the heart

“Our sector has been through huge challenges in recent times, but the resilience and tenacity of the fantastic people at the heart of great pubs is unmatched,” he said.

“They have to constantly diversify and reinvent their offer to keep their businesses relevant and sustainability is a key part of that, not only from an environmental perspective, but also to reduce waste and cost wherever possible.

“We see time and time again the brilliant innovation in this space from our members and want to share the incredible things that they are doing across every area of their businesses, as well as supporting them with up-to-date information and best practice.

“We have proved time and time again that collaboration is at the heart of our industry, and we are looking forward to championing sustainability programmes from every corner of the hospitality sector.”

This innovation was also highlighted in The Morning Advertiser​’s survey with operators having outlined further initiatives they have implemented in their businesses in a bid to improve their green credentials.

These included plans to install solar panels, increasing recycling levels and utilising outside areas to encourage wildlife into gardens.

We’ll be unpicking all this and more over the coming weeks as part of the Green Initiative so keep your eyes on The Morning Advertiser ​website.

  • The Morning Advertiser has launched the Green Initiative, which is supported by Molson Coors Beverage Company and Brewfitt.

Related topics Sustainability

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