Small Business, Low Carbon: High Potential

I spotted one of my favourite examples of CSR in smaller business included in a pretty good You Tube video.

Adnams, a brewery that produces, wait for it, a ‘carbon neutral’  beer (not tried it yet – Adnams, are you reading this?  hint). I often use them as a case study when presenting the opportunity that is CSR to small and medium sized (SME) business audiences. They even got a few big smiles during a seminar I delivered for a Turkish Chamber of Commerce a couple of weeks ago! Carbon neutrality aside, the hidden gem in this story is not green beer, it is that Tesco, the giant retailer asked Adnams if it was possible to produce a eco-friendly beer. Please dont underestimate the role reversal in this story. Literally thousands of businesses try unsuccessfully to tempt Tesco into stocking their product every year, that the retailer went to Adnams because of their reputation – one sizable vote for CSR!

Anyway, I digress, for a change. Back to the video…

Apart from the epitomy of polished corporate smugness that is Truett Tate from Lloyds Banking Group, it’s not bad at all – shame there had to be a bank in their scraping at rebuilding their reputation.

I would also wholeheartedly endorse Business in the Community’s Mayday Network for any smaller businesses out there. Get involved! It’s free and offers some great opportunities to network (the name gives it away), learn and position your company.

… and yes Coethica has signed the Copenhagen Communique – have you?

5 thoughts on “Small Business, Low Carbon: High Potential

  1. Emma Hibbert

    David –
    yes we are reading this! Thanks for your comments about Adnams and it’s great to hear that you use us as a case-study. It seems almost irresponsible that you should be talking about our carbon neutral beer without having tried it – we’d like to put that right by sending you some. Please get in touch and we’ll do the honourable thing.


    1. davidcoethica Post author

      Wow – wasn’t really expecting a response to that comment! The wonderful power of the internet – free beer, and carbon neutral free beer at that!

      Thanks for your comment Emma and I have to ask how you found the post so quickly?

      If your beer is that good maybe I should offer some to the readers via a competition to share my good fortune!

      Keep up the great work at Adnams.



  2. Veronica

    David, thank you for posting the link for the youtube video on your blog. I am impressed with the low carbon brewery success story and very intrigued by some of the other businesses highlighting their approach.

    Recently, I was asked about a carbon neutral cheese making company and I had to say I did not know of any. What caused me to think more about the enquiry was where does cheese making start and milk production end? If the focus is on just producing cheese, maybe the experience of Adams would be a parallel. However, if milk production is taken into consideration, then the forage and grain production could mean that a significant part of the carbon neutrality is made up of carbon offsetting, rather than reducing emissions through more efficient use of resources.

    Any comments on carbon neutral cheese making or examples of success stories would be welcome.

    Best wishes for 2010!



    1. davidcoethica Post author

      Hi Veronica.

      Whatever next?! Carbon neutral cheese? I could be on the way to a carbon free meal & heart attack, beer (check), cheese (check) – anybody got any carbon neutral meat or bread?

      I’m not a big fan of offsetting at all. Although it can play a critical part in product / organistional management it’s not had a great ride to date and many still use it as padding behind their marketing approach. If so, there are risks associated with not understanding or communicating your intentions clearly. If the offsetting is going to play a ‘significant part’ my instinct is telling me you should look at investing resource into reducing emissions wherever possible instead. A lower carbon approach can still be included in the communications as part of the marketing strategy without over stating the real footprint.

      I’ll dig around for carbon neutrality issues via Twitter etc and feedback any suggestions.

      Good luck for 2010!



  3. Veronica

    Hi David -now reassured that I am not the only one not to have favoured the carbon neutral cheese, as offsetting is likely to be the way to achieving that. What a pleasant surprise if indeed you discover these carbon neutral foods via production systems rather than offsetting.




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