5 successful eco-conscious B corps in the drinks industry

Krista Greenaway

Krista Greenaway

These certified B Corp breweries value people and planet as much as profits - Full credit to the Eco-Freindly beer drinker
Full credit to the Eco-Freindly beer drinker

More brands than ever before are joining the B Corp movement. One Tribe joined the movement back in January. Here are 5 brand favourites including the likes of Sipsmith Gin and Innocent Smoothies grace the list of B Corp certified businesses. Meaning we can still enjoy our weeknight drinks and morning smoothies with a cleaner conscience and zero sacrifices. 

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5 successful eco-conscious B Corps in the drinks industry 

Agriculturally, the drinks industry evokes devastating environmental impact, spewing toxic waste into crop soil and drinking water, depleting landmass and emitting 330g of carbon…per pint. To put this into perspective- one pint emits the same CO2 emissions as driving your car 1.5 miles. 

Fortunately, when the B-Corporation was founded in 2006 it sought after brands and businesses that were committed to balancing profit with purpose. A value that, despite the issues surrounding drinks production, has proven to be a solution to the negative environmental and social impact caused by the industry.

Vodkas Rhum Gin Alcohol liquors drinks bottles on a bar stand
Ostill-Full-credit-to-Getty-Images-Stock-Photo

Why the drinks industry is causing damage to our environment

You might be surprised to learn that the drinks industry contributes largely to environmental impact and climate change. But given that manufacturing, production and transportation are all primary functions of the drinks industry, it’s not a huge surprise that CO2 emissions are rife and product wastage is piling up. 

Crops like maize, corn, potato, and sugar, grown purely for the purpose of fueling alcoholic binges use up to 38% of the world’s landmass and are an extensive drain on water resources. More importantly, the demand within drinking culture across Western Civilizations means crop growth for alcohol production is being prioritised oversupplying those who need these crops for food in many poorer parts of the world.

Plastic is the biggest issue in drinks manufacturing

Toxic waste is just as big an issue. For every litre of tequila produced, there is 5 kilos of pulp and 11 litres of acidic waste – both contaminate soil and water which would otherwise be used to grow food crops and provide clean drinking water. WWF adds that intensive sugar farming has caused considerable soil erosion and degradation which releases large amounts of chemicals into the environment which we have very little control over. 

Plastic also remains to be the biggest issue surrounding drink manufacturing and production. In fact, a test carried out with Carlsberg found that packaging accounts for 40 percent of an average beer’s total carbon footprint. More than double the amount attributed to agriculture, at 17 percent, closely followed by emissions from breweries and distribution at 14 percent, refrigeration at 9 percent, and the malting and processing of grains at 6 percent.

With all that in mind, it might seem impossible that any drinks brand can tackle the environmental issues mentioned above let alone come out the other end profitable. Yet here are some of the world’s most ethical drinks brands that have shown consumers that sustainable drinking is possible. 

Sipsmith gin - Full credit to Maggie Marguerite Inc.
Full credit to Maggie Marguerite Inc.

5 B Corps leading the way

1) Sipsmith Gin

Sipsmith gin is known for its elegance, craftsmanship and delicate designs. The founder’s Sam Galsworth, Fairfax Hall and Jared Brown are also no strangers to jumping hurdles. 

After strenuous work to override historical British laws, the team founded their first gin brewery in 2008. The boys had been busy over the years, but in 2021 they reached possibly their greatest achievement yet- certifying B Corp. A recognition of their hard work and dedication to their mission to be the greatest gin developers for their people and their environment. 

Their efforts over the years have placed Sipsmith as one of the most environmentally conscious alcohol brands on the market.

“It has always been our mission to champion a better way of crafting gin and pioneer positive changes within our industry” – Sam, Sipsmith Co-founder 

Sipsmith Gin went international within their first 5 years of business and now sells in bars across 50 countries worldwide. Their profitable success may have come quickly, but that never stopped them from transitioning into mindful, causational practices to better their brands future.

drinks b corp camden town brewery new larger

2) Camden Town Brewery

Alongside Sipsmith Gin, Camden Town Brewery have shown that even a notable alcohol brewery is capable of producing ethically sourced drinks. In 2019 they partnered with GrowUp Community Farms – a London social enterprise that champion sustainable farming to grow the freshest, natural ingredients right in the heart of the city.

For the large, UK-based brewery, they have found most of their ethical success through their work with their partners. The team joined forces with GrowUp’s sister company Rootlabs to build the UK’s first urban brewery farm. Meaning they can now source their very own crop of strawberries for brewing, without increasing land damage, import emissions and water wastage. 

Other notable partnerships include their Christmas collab with TRAID to help minimise clothing waste and give back to local communities. The popular campaign ‘12 Pack Give Back’ featured their Hells Lager 12 pack boxes encased into an innovative clothing donation parcel that was sold in major UK supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Ocado and Waitrose.

Drinks b corp tea pigs range of tea flavours stacked

3) Tea Pigs 

Perhaps best recognized for their daring tea flavours including Watermelon Hibiscus and Honeybush Rooibos, Tea Pigs we’re one of the first herbals; tea brands to rise to popularity thanks to their unique flavours, quality ingredients and fantastic branding. 

Tea Pigs CEOs Nick and Louise founded their brand with intentions to reinvent bland, boring tea. From the beginning, they committed to sourcing the best quality berries, herbs and spices with 100% sustainable practices.

The brand only started in 2006, but quickly became one of the greatest tea brands in the UK. In 2019, they certified as a B Corp, becoming advocates of fairtrade tea farming, plastic-free packaging, and trade community support. Nowadays, you’ll find teapigs in cafes, delis, food halls, grocers, hotels and restaurants across the world. Their teas have won over 152 Great Taste Awards and have been voted best brand 4 times by their independent retailers.

Harrogate Water - Yorkshire Live
Yorkshire Live

4) Harrogate Water

Harrogate water knows that water isn’t boring- and here’s why. The brand has roots dating back to 1740 where the town’s 88 water springs were used to bottle water in Britain for the first time in British history. Their brand journey officially began in 2002 and within 5 years they were already giving back to communities that didn’t have access to the same quality of water you’ll find in Western society. Their sister brand Thirsty Planet and charity partners British charity Pump Aid work alongside Harrogate Water to ensure that clean, safe drinking water is supplied to the poorest areas of Africa. 

For Harrogate Water, the charity was the first point of call when it came to the concerns surrounding water supply, distribution, and manufacturing. It was no doubt that with their efforts and concerns their future held B-corp certification. It was made official in 2020 when their efforts were recognized by the official governing bodies of the B-corporation. 

“We are proud to be the first company in North Yorkshire to have achieved B Corp accreditation and join a global family of inspiring businesses committed to effecting positive change” – James Cain, Harrogate Water CEO

10 years after their founding, Harrogate Water expanded its British roots to become a globally recognised brand, prevalent in many hotels and featured at many events, including being recognised as the official water of Ascot Racecourse, Royal Ascot and Royal Albert Hall. In 2019, CEO James Cain was named Director of the Year for Corporate and Social Responsibility and Harrogate Water was awarded the Sustainability Partner of the Year award.

BBC News

5) Innocent Drinks

Perhaps the most well-known drinks manufacturers on the list of registered B-corps are innocent drinks. Following the likes of other great B-corps, this brand needs no introduction. The fresh juice and smoothie manufacturers were one of the first to introduce sleek designs, and a wellness mindset to our supermarket shelves and one we have not since forgotten. 

They started their journey in 1999, fully aware of the challenges that would entail becoming a fully ethical brand that their consumers could trust. In 2018, the B Corporation confirmed that we can, in fact, trust the team at Innocent drinks as they joined the group of like-minded sustainable businesses.

The team put in so much effort surrounding environmental and social equality that they produced their in-depth ‘good all round’ report to explain in more detail the life-changing work they are doing. Including building their very own carbon neutral factory, sourcing ingredients from communities that give back and founding their own charity named ‘the Innocent foundation’.

Sustainable practice is so important to the team at Innocent

Sustainable practice is so important to the team at Innocent, they even have their own group of employees who specifically dedicate their working hours to keeping the brand aligned to their values. Former employee Paul Brown also branched off to produce his very own B Corp the popular BOL foods. 

The company has now grown their revenue by £34 million and continues to thrive as one of our favourite smoothie brands.

Better Business - All the food and drink B Corps certified this year - The Grocer
The Grocer

B Corps and applying B Corps are joining the One Tribe movement

Many alcohol companies are now introducing big ambitious goals to become more sustainable. They have started to introduce the use of clean energy and cooling methods, reducing water use and working with their agricultural suppliers to help them become more efficient in their production and adapt to the impacts of climate change. This is good news because it means the solution isn’t necessarily to consume less, but rather to be more practical with production. 

On top of that, with more and more efforts from consumers to recycle whenever possible the environmental impact of alcohol continues to fall. Thinking about becoming a B Corp or are you already one? B Corps and applying businesses are joining One Tribe to help them certify, using our tech to show transparency and prove they are taking environmental action. 

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