Seagrass, fibre packs, unstereotypes and better mental health – The latest sustainability initiatives in the drinks industry

Ashely Cole Denny Warriors

With climate change conference the COP26 Summit just around the corner, drinks companies are working hard to show off their sustainability credentials. Here’s a selection of the latest initiatives across beer, wine, spirits and hard seltzers.

Carlsberg is donating 50p to WWF for every special edition 10x440ml Carlsberg Danish Pilsner and Carlsberg Expørt sold and redeemed in all stockists – including Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Co-op – as part of its year-long partnership with WWF to restore British seagrass.

Sustainable fibre-based packaging company DS Smith has created a fibre-based pack to support a COP26 initiative led by Toast Ale. Toast’s Companion Series is a partnership with 25 breweries across the UK and Ireland, including Guinness and Adnams, to produce a limited-edition collection of 26 beers brewed with surplus bread. The pack was designed using DS Smith’s ‘Circular Design Metrics’ – measures applied to design packaging fit for circular economy.

Tennent’s and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency have announced a new Sustainable Growth Agreement - a joint vision for how the brewer can help “lead the way in encouraging the country’s drinks industry into a more sustainable space” through new ways of working. The agreement centres on two key areas – looking at Tennent’s environmental footprint across plant, value chain, distribution networks and materials use, as well as exploring how Tennent’s can use its heritage to engage consumers and help drive positive change.

Carling and mental health charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) have rolled out a new campaign as part of their long-term partnership – More Than a Game. More Than a Game “champions the positive role grassroots football can play in helping people to tackle everyday struggles”. The campaign aims to recruit 20 clubs across the UK that embrace an open approach to mental health and wellbeing to become ‘Caring United’ clubs, providing accredited mental health first aid training to players, captains and managers. Former England star Ashley Cole (pictured above) is a More Than a Game ambassador.

Pernod Ricard has announced a revamp for the Plymouth Gin bottle, to make it more sustainable. The new bottle design has eliminated all single-use plastic and reduced the overall weight of the glass by 15%, which the company says equates to 60 tonnes of carbon a year.

Campari Group has become the first Italian company to join the Unstereotype Alliance, a “thought and action platform with the mission to eradicate harmful stereotypes in media and advertising content”. The alliance is organised by UN Women and leverages the UN's global reach of 193 member states.

Organic wine brand Terra Organica is set to run a poll to ask their customers and social media followers which planet-friendly cause they would prefer to see the organic wine brand support. The scheme is part of the brand’s commitment to 1% For The Planet.

Gloucestershire-based When in Rome wine brand has partnered with CarbonCloud to quantify their product’s carbon footprint and “bring more transparency to their climate impact”. This initiative allows When in Rome to analyse the climate impact of its products. The analysis scopes a Life Cycle Assessment of the wine, analysing the greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of the production from agriculture to distribution, right up until the point the product is placed on the shelf.

Italy’s Feudi di San Gregorio has obtained an Equalitas Corporate certification for the year 2021. ‘Equalitas – Sustainable Wine Standard’ is a voluntary certification focused on wine sustainability, created by a group of stakeholders with the aim of bringing together companies in the wine sector to promote one shared approach to sustainability, built on social, environmental and economic pillars.

Fine wine investment and collection management company Cult Wines has received a Carbon Neutral Plus Certification from Carbon Footprint, which verifies the company has not only neutralised, but “significantly offset” its carbon footprint by contributing to sustainability projects around the world.

Laithwaites has made a public commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, with the shorter-term goal of halving its carbon footprint by 2030.

White Claw hard seltzer is working with Every Can Counts to encourage drinks can recycling. White Claw will be using Every Can Counts recycling bins at several sampling events in the UK.

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