This case study recognises the work of Molson Coors at its Tadcaster factory to improve water efficiency, and raise awareness of the importance of water in the local community.
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James Finigan, a technical specialist at the Environment Agency, said: 'A good water supply is essential to the sustainability of Molson Coors’ business, so when I highlighted to them that we had some concerns about groundwater levels near Tadcaster, they were keen to know what they could do to help. The firm already had a corporate social responsibility commitment to manage their water wisely, so the business was receptive to the idea of change.'
'As well as improving their own water efficiency, Molson Coors have taken the lead in setting up the Tadcaster River Wharfe Community Users Group, to help local people to understand the importance of the river. It’s a valuable move for themselves as a business, because in becoming a more environmentally-responsible operation, they are contributing to their own future. The Environment Agency is working with many businesses in this way to help them conserve water, so we all have enough for our homes and businesses and to protect our valuable natural environment.'
About Molson Coors, Tadcaster
Molson Coors Brewing Company is the world's seventh largest brewer.
Two years ago our groundwater team noticed that the water levels in the magnesian limestone were falling. As part of the investigations into this they checked up on the abstraction carried out by the three Tadcaster breweries (the other two are John Smiths and Sam Smiths). All were complying with their licences. Coors however were interested in why we were investigating their water use, particularly as one of their own boreholes was starting to dry up. They wanted some advice from us on how to better manage their water resources, as clearly in the long term without adequate water supplies their business wouldn’t be sustainable.
Working with the Environment Agency
Coors already had a corporate social responsibility commitment to manage their water wisely, so the business culture was receptive to the idea of change. We discussed with them how they could use their existing water supplies more efficiently. This included an Environment Agency led lunch-and-learn event for staff, as well as discussions with management, so all levels of the business were involved. We talked to them about declining water levels, drought etc as well as simple actions that they could take.
Key environmental achievements
The business chose to invest in equipment to improve their water efficiency, by cleaning and reusing water from some processes. In 2008 it took 3.8 pints of water to produce one pint of beer, but by 2011 this had reduced to 3.3 pints of water per pint. The company have not stopped there and have a target to reduce their water use by 15% by the end of 2012 (compared with 2008 levels).
They are using less water, and encouraging the community to value their local water resources. Most importantly, the business is now more likely to be sustainable for the future. Without a good water supply they would have had to move elsewhere.
In addition, Coors have sponsored a Tadcaster water users group to encourage local ownership of the river. They have styled themselves as ‘water custodians’, as clearly the water supply is important to their business and to the local community (many of whom work at the brewery). They are holding a charity event at the local swimming pool in September along with a charity duck race to publicise the group.
Learning from this example
What learning do we want to share with other businesses?
- Molson Coors have secured the long term future of their business by changing their approach to water use
- They have also taken this opportunity to raise their profile in the local community
- The Environment Agency can help businesses to improve their water efficiency and to educate their staff on how to use water more wisely
Lee Finney, supply chain director at Molson Coors said 'We believe that good business practices embrace environmental stewardship. In promoting and encouraging sustainable water practices, Molson Coors is not only helping the local community but has successfully challenged and changed its business culture'
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