Skip to content

Green Business Network

Wells & Youngs moves forward with BETI+

Wells and Young’s Brewing Company is the largest private owned brewery in the UK. With a Pollution Prevention Control (PPC) licence already in place, and savings of upwards of £79,000 per year under a resource efficiency programme, with GBN’s Resource Efficiency Club, the company’s Bedford HQ is no stranger to environmental issues.

However, Wells and Young’s decided that implementing an environmental management system (EMS) based around ISO 14001was the most efficient way of moving its environmental programme forward, particularly at a time when more mergers were on the cards.

Wells and Youngs Brewery Headquarters in BedfordAs environmental manager Duncan Whitbread had already undergone CIWM Waste Awareness Certificate training, the company sent his deputy – Graham Walker to do the course. “Our intention is to continue expanding the knowledge base of personnel involved in waste management and environmental matters,” says Duncan. And Graham found the course extremely useful as a foundation for dealing with environmental issues.

While the company isn’t yet experiencing a strong supplier demand for ISO 14001, Duncan recognises that the requirement from any of Wells and Young’s suppliers is just around the corner. Consequently, he wanted to pre-empt the demand and start to get an EMS up and running within the company.

The most valuable part of the BETI+ training for Duncan was the CIEH Level 3 course in Environmental Management, coupled with workshops where issues and problems were discussed with other businesses undergoing an implementation process. “CIEH has given us the confidence to develop the system and work on it knowing what we’re doing is right. Also talking to other people within the group was invaluable. It helped us to share problems and help each other sort them out,” says Duncan.

“We know that it’s only a matter of time before many businesses will be asked to provide proof of environmental management systems being part of their operations, and we want to stay ahead of the game.”Duncan Whitbread, Environmental Manager

While the company’s priorities currently lie with business development issues, such as mergers, Wells and Young’s is likely to delay going for full certification. However, the systems, procedures and processes to be assessed against the environmental management systems standard are now all in place. And this is a comforting thought. As Duncan explains: “If the need arises, we could go for registration within months, but for now we will maintain, update and use the EMS, and will go for registration once the ground settles on other business priorities.”

And what additional benefits has operating to an EMS brought to the company? “We’re managing environmental impacts in all areas of our business now,” says Duncan. “And it brings an additional level of control and impetus to what we’re doing in other areas.”

And the other areas look set to reap rewards for the company in the coming year. A new water reclaim system to recover cooling water will save around £40,000 per year in water and effluent charges, and monitoring and measuring CO2 is consistently delivering massive savings year on year, which is particularly important as production levels rise.

“Our target is to reclaim approximately 0.58 tonnes of CO2 per brew,” says Duncan. “And with an average of 70 brews a week, we should be able to reclaim about 40 tonnes a week. CO2 costs more than £100 a tonne to buy-in, so reaching this target could save us up to £4000 per week.”