Our procurement and technical services teams actively review and assess our suppliers’ track record in environmental management, health and safety, sustainability, diversity and overall corporate social responsibility through our tendering processes and ongoing supplier reviews. This ensures that corporate social responsibility is part of our sourcing decisions and sourcing strategies for new suppliers.
A fundamental part of our supply chain is the long-term supply relationships with our crop and fruit growers. The nature of these supply contracts necessitate long-term partnerships. Sustainable agricultural practices and the preservation of biodiversity are at the cornerstone of those relationships.
All apples crushed at the Clonmel site for the production of Bulmers and Magners cider are sourced from the island of Ireland, which helps the “product miles”. Therefore, the health and sustainability of the Irish apple growing sector are central to the overall Group strategy. As well as having 150 acres of our own orchards in Co. Tipperary, there are over 50 partner growers on the Island, whom we work closely with.
Apple orcharding, in itself, is an environmentally friendly activity in comparison to other agricultural land uses. A 2012 study conducted by the University of Limerick, Ireland, demonstrated that an acre of apple orchards will absorb as much greenhouse gas as an acre of beef farming will release. The orchards the Group either own or support via direct contracts with growers are a valuable means of sequestering carbon. Based on the same 2012 study at the University of Limerick which estimated the average tonnes of CO2 sequestered by apple orchards, C&C directly supports the sequestering of 11.4k tonnes of CO2 per year. For comparison, this carbon offset is higher than the 2018 carbon emissions due to fuel and energy usage of the Clonmel manufacturing facility.
The Group is also committed to working with our growers to ensure the most sustainable farming practices are utilised, including Integrated Pest Management Practices. This ensures growers are aware of the complex ecology of inhabitants within their orchards and are managing these to best effect, growing crops while preserving the stability of that ecologically complex system.
A key aspect of apple orcharding, which is intertwined with ecological sustainability, is the health of the population of bees and other pollinating insects. With the ever-intensifying nature of grass production in Ireland for livestock and dairy farming the natural habitat and key food sources are being dramatically reduced. The Group and our growers are keenly aware of the importance of the 100 species of bees in Ireland to their businesses and are very focused on protecting this biodiversity. As part of this C&C are patrons of the South Tipperary Bee-Keepers Association who carry out much activity on the protection & promotion of the species.
Similarly in Scotland, Tennent’s lager is produced using 100% Scottish malt. We seek to support the growers of our key raw materials such as barley and wheat through entering into long-term supply arrangements. As part of this, we take account of broader outputs such as the impact on sustainability, environmental and social impacts. Malting barley is only purchased from farms with current and up-to-date, independently audited farm assurance schemes. Those schemes are the Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) or the Red Tractor assurance schemes, which ensure the best environmental practices are adhered to.
In the UK, C&C is an active member of the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM), with representation on the both the NACM Council and Technical Committees. The NACM takes the lead in adopting and working to sustainable principles both in the physical and social environment and carries out annual climate change assessments. The NACM is the first drinks trade body to work with Business in the Community (BITC) to address sustainability, and we have worked with the pomology and technical experts in the NACM to develop our sustainability agenda.
As outlined, in Vermont, we play a role with local farmers through “cow power” to help dairy farmers install methane digesters turning manure into power. Our 26 array “solar orchard” also provides sustainable electricity and revenue diversification for local farmers.