Tennent's marks environmental milestones with new sustainability agreement

  06 October 2021
Tennent’s and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have today announced the signing of a new Sustainable Growth Agreement (SGA), which sets out a joint vision for how the producers of Scotland’s favourite beer can help lead the way in encouraging the country’s drinks industry into a more sustainable space through new ways of working.
  • Sustainable Growth Agreement signed with SEPA
  • Tennent’s has removed all single-use plastic from packaging
  • Electricity at Wellpark Brewery and distribution networks from renewable sources.
  • ‘A pint and a plan’ workshops launched with SEPA and 2050 Climate Group

The agreement centres on two key areas – the first looking at Tennent’s environmental footprint across plant, value chain (customers and suppliers), distribution networks and materials use. 

The SGA follows confirmation that Tennent’s has met a commitment to remove all single-use plastic from packaging. Removing circa 150 tonnes of plastic from the environment per annum, all canned product formats now come in cardboard outers following a £7million investment, with shrink-wrap and hi-cone rings removed from packaging.

At the iconic Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow, and across Tennent’s distribution network, plans have also been accelerated to ensure all electricity comes from renewable sources.

Today’s announcements are the latest initiatives from Tennent’s to help tackle the climate crisis. These include the installation at Wellpark of an anaerobic digestion plant on site, which improves the quality of wastewater whilst generating bio-gas, which is then used to help heat the brewery. In November 2020, Tennent’s also installed Scotland’s largest carbon capture facility, that allows the brewery to store over 4,200 tonnes of CO2 per year, and sees Tennent’s become 95% self-sufficient in CO2.

The second focus area within the SGA will explore how Tennent’s will use heritage and its iconic brands to engage consumers with an emphasis on building positive relationships, providing education and guidance, endorse conversation about climate change and environmental challenges and help drive positive change.

The first part of this will see Tennent’s, SEPA and the 2050 Climate Group initiate a series of events to engage people throughout Scotland in the issue of climate change. The series of ‘a pint and a plan’ workshops, which have been on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will see the public invited to join open collaborative gatherings designed to turn talk into advocacy and action.

Minister for Environment and Land Reform Mairi McAllan said: “With COP26 coming to Glasgow in just a few weeks, there has never been a better time for Scottish businesses to be upping their climate action.

 “We have committed to ending our contribution to climate change within a generation and we are making great progress – Scotland is already more than halfway to net zero. As Scotland’s economy transforms to achieve our ambitious targets, we will support Scottish businesses to make the changes they need to adapt and to take advantage of new opportunities.

“Tennent's is one of Scotland's most iconic brands and I am sure their action will inspire others to look at how they can become more sustainable.”

Shona Munro, Director of Manufacturing at Tennent’s, said: “Formalising our collaborative way of working with SEPA through a Sustainable Growth Agreement will further focus attention on our responsibilities, and the role we can play in supporting our communities towards a more sustainable future. The Sustainable Growth Agreement sets out a joint aspiration for Tennent’s and we look forward to leveraging this shared commitment, knowledge and passion to deliver meaningful change across the sector.

“This is another important step on our journey as a business, but we can and will continue to do more as we commit to ongoing and lasting environmental change. The removal of plastics from our operations, and a switch to renewable electricity are just two areas we have made significant changes in. As Scotland’s oldest surviving business, we take our responsibilities very seriously and we will continue to use our brands to turn conversation with consumers into action.”    

Jo Green, Chief Officer, Green Recovery at SEPA added: “From extreme weather, frequent flash floods and sea level rise to forest fires and water scarcity, Scots today are living through a double whammy of climate and nature emergencies.

“Just as Scots businesses helped lead the first industrial revolution, today’s businesses like Tennent’s can again innovate and create a low carbon revolution.  With the eyes of the world turning to Glasgow ahead of November’s global climate conference, we’re pleased to stand with one of Scotland’s most iconic brands, pledging both to move further, faster towards net zero, and to engage and inspire a new generation of consumers to climate action.

“Today’s announcement marks both a critical ‘out of plastics’ milestone, but also demonstrates the global ambition of progressive Glasgow and Scottish businesses like Tennent’s.”

Sophie Eastwood, Operations Director of the 2050 Climate Group, said: “Our focus at 2050 Climate Group is to empower young people to take action on climate change. With COP26 in Glasgow fast approaching, we are excited to be working with both SEPA and Tennent's on a series of climate conversations, starting at the iconic Wellpark Brewery - Scotland's oldest industrial site.

“With the ongoing threats to our environment posed by extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels, habitat loss and global insecurity, among other issues, young people's ideas and actions will be key to moving towards a just transition and building a Net Zero future. The climate conversations series - a collaborative project between 2050 Climate Group, SEPA and Tennent's - will provide a fresh angle to climate debates and contribute to inspiring young people to take action on climate change on a local, national and international level.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

About Tennent’s:

 

  • Tennent Caledonian has been brewing at Wellpark since 1556. As Scotland’s oldest business, with a c500 year heritage, sustainability is part the company’s DNA.
  • Tennent Caledonian Breweries has been awarded an ‘Excellent’ rating in the SEPA Compliance Assessment Scheme (CAS) for the last 3 years.
  • A £7 million investment in packaging equipment at Wellpark Brewery has eradicated single use plastic from consumer packaging. The investment, first announced in October 2019 as part of a series of ‘Because Life is Bigger than Beer’ initiatives, will remove 150 tonnes of plastic from Tennent’s Lager can packs, including more than 100 million plastic (hi- and mid-cone) rings.
  • The brewery can produce up to 120,000 cans per hour, packaged in fully recyclable cardboard. Made possible by a multi-million-pound investment in plant machinery, the new packaging area will remove all plastic packaging from Tennent’s Lager can formats for the first time in more than 40 years.
  • Tennent’s (part of C&C Group) is the only brewer to be a member of the UK Plastics Pact an initiative to help businesses, governments and non-governmental organisations tackle the problem of plastic pollution.

 

About SEPA and the SGA:

  • Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment. SEPA believes that the only nations, societies and businesses which will thrive in the 21st century will be those which have developed ways to prosper within our planet’s capacity to support them, including adapting to and taking early action on climate change.
  • Scotland has committed to becoming a world leader in addressing climate change and is already taking ambitious steps to drive a low carbon economy, creating new opportunities for a stronger and more inclusive economy and society. SEPA’s job is to help make this happens, including working with and supporting people and groups in Scotland that share this aim.
  • Sustainable Growth Agreements (SGA) are voluntary, non-legally binding, formal agreements through which an organisation (or organisations) and SEPA can explore new and innovative ways of working that deliver environmental, social and economic success.
  • SGAs help create urgently needed business frameworks that facilitate more sustainable ways of working within our planet’s resources. The focus is on practical actions to deliver environmentally positive outcomes.