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Robinsons becomes first carbon literate brewer and pub company

Sixth generation family brewer, Robinsons, has trained 40 of its 116 head office employees in carbon literacy with plans to have its entire central team carbon literate within a year. The 185 year old brewery, based in the northwest, is the first brewer and pub company to have actioned a commitment to becoming a carbon literate workforce, with a dedicated training workshop certified by the Carbon Literacy Project. The training has been introduced as part of the business’ net zero roadmap across the company’s brewing, bottling and pub estate business, achieving 40 certified employees and becoming a Bronze Carbon Literate Organisation in the first six weeks.

Carbon literacy is defined by The Carbon Literacy Project as ‘an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis’. Recognised by the UN at COP21 as one of 100 worldwide transformative action programmes, The Carbon Literacy Project initiates and helps deliver carbon literacy in an innovative way: through the certification of people and organisations by their participation in action focused learning about climate change, which the participants themselves help devise.

Phil Korbel, co-founder and director of advocacy at The Carbon Literacy Project, said: ‘We need to see carbon literacy embedded in every workforce, which involves breaking out of the ‘eco bubble’ of ‘green’ business and making this simply ‘business’. That is why it is such good news to have Robinsons as our first brewery and pub chain. Its ability to influence its landlords, supply chain, its sector and the public is second to none and we can’t wait to support the company to take carbon literacy even further.’

The carbon literate certification at Robinsons has been developed and delivered by its retail environment champion, a university placement position linked to the tenanted pub division, and within a dedicated sustainability department instated in the business in 2022. This company wide integrated workshop aligns with Robinsons’ commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2040, in line with the hospitality climate action group Zero Carbon Forum, of which Robinsons Brewery is a member.

Ben Robinson, director of tenanted operations and the lead on Robinsons sustainability project, Target Zero, said: ‘We are delighted that 90% of our directors are now carbon literate, including both of our managing directors. The course has equipped our leaders with the knowledge they need to drive positive climate action throughout our business and their teams. We have now successfully trained every department within the business at a management level and continue to roll out the workshops to the rest of our workforce. We have so far engaged decision makers who work with resourcing raw ingredients and materials, to designing pub refurbishments, to team members who influence the actions of others in their day to day work.’

Martyn Weeks, director of brewing and operations at Robinsons, pledged: ‘I will review the purchase and installation of a carbon dioxide recovery plant to our brewery fermentation vessels. This will collect the CO2 from our brewing fermentations which otherwise would be released to the atmosphere. The CO2 will then be used within our new brewery for carbonation of drinks. There will be an increase in our electricity usage but as we only purchase green electricity, this will not impact the carbon footprint of the site. The real benefit will be that we will reduce our use of imported CO2 which is currently made as a by-product of ammonia fertiliser production.’

Issie Masters, retail environmental champion, certified carbon literate at Manchester Metropolitan University, and sharing her knowledge as a trainer at Robinsons Brewery, said: ‘The team have shown dedication and a commitment to understanding the impact of carbon emissions and finding innovative ways to reduce them in our business. With their newfound knowledge, our colleagues have the confidence to reduce greenhouse gas emissions not only at work, but also in their personal lives, and have made some fantastic commitments to reducing their carbon footprints at work. I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to spread climate awareness and enhance the visibility of Robinsons Target Zero goals throughout the company.’


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