Working towards a sustainable environment

Brewer Adnams’ environmental sustainability manager Benedict Orchard has confirmed that he will be leaving the company this summer, shortly after the firm’s head of finance and sustainability Richard Carter also made a career change.

Under Orchard and Carter, Adnams halved its carbon emissions, achieved its lowest ever water use ratio and achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status

Under Orchard and Carter, Adnams halved its carbon emissions, achieved its lowest ever water use ratio and achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status

Orchard first joined Adnams as an environmental intern seven years ago and was swiftly promoted to environmental sustainability manager.

During his first five years in the role, Orchard created and implemented a sustainability agenda so successful that it has already been adopted by other organisations across the beverage sector and beyond, due to the fact that it links suppliers, other internal teams and competitors together in tackling emissions, waste, water and biodiversity loss.

Under the agenda, Adnams has achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status and switched to 100% renewable power for business operations. It has also made a number of green changes to its packaging due to Orchard’s influence, such as changing its Spindrift bottle from blue to brown glass – a move which has saved the company £25,000 annually and reduced the carbon footprint of the packaging by 21% – and completing a series of redesigns for lightweighting.

Other successful projects issued by Orchard include completing a £50,000 LED lighting installation at a distribution centre, helping Adnams’ hotels achieve gold status in the Green Tourism Business Scheme and introducing 250,000 bees to the firm’s hotels, which sell honey in order to promote biodiversity to visitors.

Orchard has additionally played a core role in reducing Adnams’ water ratio to 20% below the industry average. The company last year saved 90% of its distillery water and slashed 15% off of its hot brewing liquor energy bill – feats which earned Adnams edie’s Sustainability Leaders Award 2019 for Water Management.

Speaking exclusively to edie, 29-year-old Orchard explained that he is stepping down from his current role in Southwold in order to relocate with his wife to the West Midlands, where she has been given the opportunity to begin a new career venture.

He described his time at Adnams as “seven years of fantastic achievement, great experience and real fun” and explained that, while he is yet to confirm his next venture, he will “keep an open mind and [his] phone on loud” as he strives to drive further sustainability “transformations”.  

“I have personally loved being able to implement projects that not only had large climate-positive impacts, but also those that have been more engaging and environmentally regenerative,” Orchard said.

“I am leaving in the knowledge that Adnams is the strongest it has ever been in its leadership in sustainable business and I am confident this will continue way beyond my time there. It is time to pass on the reigns to a fresh pair of eyes who can bring something new and progress Adnams even further whilst enjoying the lovely culture and leadership within.”

Responding to Orchard’s move, Adnams’ head of Corporate affairs Oliver Drury said: “We appreciate the commitment Benedict has shown to his role as Adnams’ environmental sustainability manager and wish him all the best in his future career.

“As a pioneer in the field of sustainability for many years with national recognition for our use of energy and waste reducing technology, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We continue to be committed to working alongside international organisations, businesses and members of the public to protect our planet and the rich biodiversity of our environment.”

Two’s company

The departure of Orchard – who is also a member of edie’s 30 Under 30 group – comes shortly after Adnams’ head of finance and sustainability Richard Carter left the brewer in order to take up lecturing.

Carter, who headed up Adnams’ two-strong sustainability team for almost seven years, has been working at West Suffolk College since May, where he now delivers classes and courses covering financial accounting, analysis and strategy.

Despite his move, Carter has remained on the board at IEMA, the National Trust and at Ashden, where he serves within the Fit for the Future Network.

I think it’s fair to say that Ben and I achieved a great deal at Adnams over the last seven years and those achievements have been recognised in 14 major awards during our tenure,” Carter told edie.

“Without question, the most significant of those was Benedict becoming Edie’s Sustainability Manager of the Year in 2018. I was enormously proud of him for that.”

Carter added: “Although I’ll be focused chiefly on accounting and finance, I’ve proven repeatedly that this goes hand-in-hand with sustainability and responsible business. Indeed, my first two lectures are going to be on CSR and sustainability.

“This gives me the opportunity to influence many more people from the next generation of business leaders hopefully share with them what an important and exciting area this is.”

Sarah George