Since being conceived on a vineyard on the edge of the South Downs National Park in 2011, and now since 2018 located on a nearby farm, we at Bedlam have always been mindful of our obligations to the local environment and community. For example, we chose our current location partly due to the solar panels on the barn roof and also the fact we could donate our spent grain direct to the cows in the barn next door – talk about zero waste miles!
However, since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, our packaged direct to consumer business has grown exponentially and, in parallel, we have had more time to think about the beautiful environment around us, that we’re so privileged to live in.
At the start of last year, we therefore decided to ‘up our game’ when it comes to our commitment to protecting our environment and we have consequently set ourselves the ambitious goal of becoming a carbon positive business as soon as we can. The process has started with us estimating our current carbon footprint using established GreenHouse Gas accounting principles, incorporating Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 emissions (see https://ghgprotocol.org for more details).
Having identified the largest contributors to our carbon footprint, we have developed the following action plan for this year:
- Investigate economically viable options to improve the sustainability of our barley malt supplies, without obviously compromising on the taste of our beer;
- Investigate economically viable options to increase the recycled glass content of our bottles. Note that the relatively thin glass used in most bottles currently widely available means they are not suitable for re-use but they are largely recycled – see hereunder;
- Consider whether currently available electrically driven vans can provide the high level of service we want to continue to provide to our trade and consumer customers across Sussex and beyond; and
- Investigate whether we can develop a viable reusable ‘growler’ delivery scheme with interested customers to reduce the amount of minikegs, cans and bottles we sell.
We will report back on progress regarding the above at the end of this year.
In addition, we have entered into an offset scheme managed by Forest Carbon that comprises two parts (1) we are investing in a regulated scheme of forestry investments in the UK that will in time capture an amount of carbon equal to 100% of our currently estimated annual carbon footprint and (2) we are purchasing carbon credits from an existing international scheme equivalent to 100% of our currently estimated annual carbon footprint (see www.forestcarbon.co.uk for more details).
Lastly, we have investigated directly with our main local councils the extent to which our packaged products are recycled. Whilst the way in which the products get to the recycling facilities differs by council, nearly 100% of all cans, bottles, mini kegs and cardboard is recycled, ie nothing is sent to landfill.
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We hope the above is of interest – this is an evolution that builds on our core principles and is something we are all fully committed to.
If you have questions, want further information or have suggestions as to other opportunities for us, don’t hesitate to get in touch via