We believe that all businesses have a duty to decide what part they want to play in building a thriving future for their communities and the wider world.
Implementing sustainable and ethical practices has been an integral part of Castle Rock’s operation for decades. We work to have a positive impact on the environment and society in general in all that we do.
Like many businesses, the CV-19 pandemic ground our environmental activity to a halt. We’re relieved to be once again working on our Sustainability Strategy with the urgency it requires in response to the climate emergency. This strategy will ensure we have a clear plan of action for the future and will allow us to guide investment and resources into high priority areas.
Greenwashing is a term coined in the 1980s which, briefly put, can make a company appear to be more environmentally friendly than it really is.
So, before we go any further, we want to make a promise: we promise we will not greenwash. We promise to tell the whole truth; to share our shortcomings as well as our successes, and to act with integrity and sincerity.
From 2016-2019, we proudly held Green Accreditation with Investors in the Environment (IIE) for the actions taken to reduce our ecological footprint. Their annual assessments measured and evaluated our use of electricity, gas and water, as well as our waste disposal and Co2 emissions, against a criterion which includes an assessment of our targets, monitoring and communication.
We were thrilled to achieve a 94% overall success rate in 2019, with an astounding 29% reduction in Co2 emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3).
Our IIE membership was a game-changer for members of our team who worked hard on environmental initiatives, providing a framework and guidance by which to plan and measure. However, as of 2021 we have chosen to reserve these funds and will be redirecting them into projects outlined in our Sustainability Strategy.
After many years of our environmental efforts scooting along below the radar, in 2018 we were awarded the Visit Nottinghamshire STARS Award for Sustainable Tourism.
In 2019 we became reigning champs and took home the revamped Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism award.
Kinga Kapias, acting marketing and communications manager at Visit Nottinghamshire, said:
‘The Castle Rock team has successfully identified all areas within the business where they can become more sustainable and are truly setting an example to other businesses. The brewery has invested time and resources into ensuring they are doing their best to look after the environment.’
We consider these awards a great example of how any company can implement changes which deliver tangible results, not just young organisations founded on low carbon and carbon neutral business models.
Our operations manager and head of food work closely with our pub managers and head office teams to source cost-effective products and services, while minimising damage to the environment.
It is also important that we work with third parties whose values align with our own, such as catering suppliers Hopwells, who have a sector-leading sustainability programme. In order to minimise the number of steps taken from ground to plate, we buy our produce from local farmers and wholesalers as much as possible.
On the brewing side, Castle Rock Brewery was one of the first real ale producers to be accredited with the nationally recognised SALSA standard (Safe and Local Supplier Approval).
Awareness of palm oil and its devastating effects on the planet has increased in recent years.
As part of our Sustainability Strategy, we will be working to establish how we can best respond to this crisis as a company.
It is very much our hope that product demand from customers such as ourselves will make its way up the supply chain, and that only 100% deforestation-free palm oil reaches our kitchens. We’ll keep you updated on our activity in this area.
*RSPO = Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
Thanks to our longstanding friendship with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, we are often able to seize opportunities to connect with and protect the natural world. Read all about our twenty-year friendship here.
It’s vital that we all do our bit to protect these essential insects by planting nectar-rich flowers and herb gardens in whatever outdoor space we have.
Not all our pubs have large spaces for growing flora and fauna, so a bit of creativity is often in order. This includes making vertical planters from old palettes, and even reaching out to nearby landowners for help.
Fun fact: During the CV-19 lockdowns, our operations director Vicki Saxby decided to home grow the planters and hanging baskets for the entire family of Castle Rock pubs. Vicki was able to adorn 13 pubs with her colourful, nectar rich flowers to see them through the summer of 2021.
What do you get when you take two blokes and their fondness of upcycling? At the very least, a little less deforestation.
We’ve been extremely lucky at Castle Rock to have staff who are dedicated to keeping furniture waste, and costs, to a minimum. These guys can often be found in the warehouse at the brewery, sawing, sanding, varnishing and re-purposing pieces of furniture for use in the pubs.
Upcycling is one of the many things, we think, that adds charm to Castle Rock pubs. Ever noticed the unique slate tables in the Embankment’s beer garden? They are made from old snooker tables
We were overjoyed in 2019 to achieve a 29% reduction of Co2 emissions in scope 1, 2 and 3, reported by Investors in the Environment. Much of this percentage was generated by small but effective changes being made behind the scenes in our pubs.
Continuing to reduce our carbon emissions remains one of our key focus areas for the coming years.
Our current travel policy involves a partnership with a holding company. They combine our beer deliveries with their own, meaning we reduce our transportation use by a minimum of 120 miles per week.
Currently, our own fleet of vehicles leaves something to be desired. It is therefore paramount that our deliveries are strategic while we search for greener and financially viable alternatives. Our logistics manager, delivery drivers and sales team work closely to ensure that a) routes are planned carefully, and b) our vans are full before they pull out of the gate.
We are working hard to acquire a fleet of electric vehicles and welcome contacts who can assist us in this area.
As well as making responsible changes to how our business operates, we also want to enable and empower our customers to make changes too. We have installed EVC points at two of our Nottingham pubs, the Poppy and Pint in Lady Bay, and the Embankment on Trent Bridge. The latter is the most rapid charging facility in Nottingham – ideally located on the main transport route into the south of the city. Both are powered by renewable energy.
These investments are part of our commitment to a collective future where electric vehicles are the norm.
Our brewery is housed in a large re-purposed block on the edge of Nottingham city. We have done what we can to make sure the brewery is as efficient as it can be, but this is a challenging task considering it is an old, non-bespoke building.
However, with the help of some external parties, we are confident that our Sustainability Strategy can signal a time of exciting change for our humble brewery. One of the by-products of brewing is the energy we create during the process, so there is great potential to not only reduce what we use, but also reuse it. Options such as combined heat and power (CHP) are in the mix, which would see us supplying energy back into the National Grid.
We are in talks with various local universities who have an interest in leading on this project, subject to available grants and funding.
There are small changes we can all make, as individuals and as businesses, to change our personal, local and global food systems.
Tackling food waste is a huge task for any business like ourselves, which operates multiple sites, all of which have unique challenges. This particular project was, therefore, a two-stage process: Today and Tomorrow. We’re pleased to now be looking on to the future and what tomorrow holds for our food waste procedures.
We took a good hard look at food waste in our pubs. This involved weighing food waste in four areas (spoilage, preparation, plate, other) over 12 months, which allowed us to collate data and establish a baseline of not only how much waste was being produced, but why and where it was being produced.
At the same time, ongoing efforts continued to be made behind the scenes:
In January 2020, our reports showed a level of food waste was a fraction of the national average and significantly lower than high street food chains. The amount of food waste being produced by Castle Rock pubs was, conclusively, too small to make our business a suitable match for most food waste schemes.
We are investigating the best option for the future of our business and the planet. Our current front-runners are anaerobic digestion or energy digestion, and we are looking into contracts with a zero-carbon partner.
Our spent oil is collected by Olleco – a circular economy company which follows a “Supply, Collect, Convert” cycle – and converted into renewable energy.
We’ve been working with a local farmer for many years now to ensure our brewing by-products are not wasted. Spent grains and hops, sometimes still warm from the brewery, are collected in bulk and used as cattle feed.
As things develop with our Sustainability Strategy, we are looking at other ways this waste can be utilised.
Our waste collection is consolidated with a fully integrated waste provider. This means that all our waste is transported to a Nottingham recycling centre where it is weighed, analysed, checked and re-checked. This ensures that maximum recycling takes place.
We’re working closely with our waste partner to streamline our processes, balance cost with efficiency, and reduce general waste collection.