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Swansea’s Drop Bear Beer Co. becomes world’s first carbon neutral alcohol-free brewer

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Swansea-based Welsh craft brewer, Drop Bear Beer Co. has just become the world’s first certified carbon neutral alcohol-free brewer, bolstering the business’ commitment to combatting climate change.

From day one, the burgeoning brewer has taken measures to reduce its carbon footprint, and it is now celebrating its unique position within the brewing sector.

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According to the Paris Agreement, calculating, reducing and offsetting CO2 emissions are crucial steps in tackling climate change.

Drop Bear’s official designation as carbon neutral follows extensive work by the award-winning business to achieve carbon neutrality for the company and its beers.

This has been achieved by compensating for CO2 emissions through supporting international, certified carbon offset projects facilitated by ClimatePartner. An example is a clean wind energy project in north east Brazil to implement and operate 14 wind power plants with various social benefits for Brazilian communities.

Since its formation in Swansea in 2019, the company’s founders – Joelle Drummond and Sarah McNena – have striven to build a business with sustainability and climate change awareness as its bedrock, meaning consumers no longer need to compromise on quality or values.

From the outset, the pair’s strong ethical values and commitment to the environment and climate change have been at the heart of their business ethos while building a major national and international award-winning alcohol-free craft beer brand.

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The announcement of the company’s carbon neutral status comes hot on the heels of Drop Bear being named ‘Green Start Up of the Year’ at the Wales Start Up Awards 2022. At the Awards, which were held last week, Drop Bear was also named overall ‘Wales Start Up of the Year’, along with ‘Swansea Bay Start Up of the Year’, and ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’.

Joelle said, “Drop Bear takes its responsibility to the environment very seriously and achieving carbon neutrality is the latest milestone towards which we’ve been working for years. This third party accreditation also reassures customers that we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. Now comes the time for real innovation as we work to reduce our carbon footprint at production stage and reduce reliance on carbon offsetting.”

Drop Bear’s activities will continue to be monitored by ClimatePartner, with annual Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF) and Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) reports on the business’ targets.

On a mission to brew ‘the best 0.5% ABV craft beers and build a better world in which to drink them’, Drop Bear’s carbon neutrality comes eight months after becoming Wales’ first B Corporation®️ brewery.

A Living Wage company, Drop Bear’s B Corp™️ designation has put it among an elite group of environmentally, ethically, and socially focused UK food and drink businesses.

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The company’s environmental endeavours and entrepreneurship were also recognised at last month’s Wales Business Awards 2022. Drop Bear received the ‘Green Business of the Year’ award at the event, and Joelle was named ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’.

Earlier this year, Drop Bear announced its plan to build a bespoke brewery on a farm near Abergavenny. If the company’s building plans are realised, then Monmouthshire will become home to the world’s first carbon neutral alcohol-free brewery.

Joelle said, “Our proposed brewery in Abergavenny is key for this next, exciting stage of our sustainability journey as we take matters into our own hands. The nature of this site means that we would be able to implement innovative technologies to reduce energy use, increase efficiencies, reduce waste, reduce food miles, derive power from on-site solar panels, and explore closed loop systems etc.

“Now that we have completed our analyses, we know where the most impactful changes can be made and frankly we can’t wait to get stuck in and continue to lead the way for ‘green’ drinks production in Wales.”

Drop Bear’s range appeals to a wide variety of customers worldwide and prides itself on creating accessible beer for everyone, ensuring their beers are vegan friendly, gluten-free, and low calorie, all whilst creating award-winning flavours.

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Available through a growing range of stockists, the company recently achieved a listing to supply Tesco stores in Wales. At the same time, Drop Bear has continued to expand its international customer base with the addition of outlets in Hong Kong and Finland.

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Aldi retains title of ‘UK’s cheapest supermarket’

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As Brits continue to look for ways to cut household costs, consumer group Which? has yet again named Aldi as the cheapest UK supermarket.

With savings of £12.62 compared to the average Big Four basket, Aldi says its shoppers can be confident they’re getting the best deal.

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Which? conducted its monthly Cheapest Supermarket price comparison and looked at the cost of a basket of 47 items, including groceries and household essentials, with Aldi coming in cheapest at just £74.23.

The same shopping cost a whopping £16.91 more at Morrisons and £12.54 more at Tesco.

The independent consumer group’s research also found Aldi to be a massive £25.23 cheaper than the most expensive supermarket, Waitrose, for an equivalent basket of items.

The full results of the research are as follows:

RankRetailerAverage £
1Aldi74.23
2Lidl75.61
3Asda83.22
4Sainsbury’s86.27
5Tesco86.77
6Morrisons91.14
7Ocado95.33
8Waitrose99.46

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, said: “We know that across the nation many families are finding things tough due to the cost of living crisis. At Aldi, we’re determined to help by keeping costs low and quality high for our customers. We’re thrilled to yet again be named the UK’s cheapest supermarket.”

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(Lead image: Aldi)

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Morrisons becomes first supermarket to launch its own carbon neutral eggs

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Morrisons has become the first supermarket to launch its own line of carbon neutral eggs as part of its commitment to be directly supplied by ‘zero emission’ British farms by 2030, five years ahead of the rest of the supermarket industry.

In stores now, Morrisons new carbon neutral ‘Planet Friendly Eggs’ come from Morrisons farms where hens are fed a soya-free diet of insects – which are in turn fed on food waste from its bakery, fruit and vegetable sites.

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This pioneering ‘circular waste’ feeding scheme, powered by Better Origin technology, reduces deforestation caused by soya production and negates the carbon emissions emitted from transporting this soya.

The egg farm where the first stock of Planet Friendly Eggs will originate also has a large wind turbine, 50kWh solar panels, and a carbon sequestration programme to offset any remaining emissions on the farm – with 20 percent of its land planted with trees.

Morrisons says it has been working with its farmers to create net zero carbon farm ‘models’ that look at neutralising emissions through the whole lifecycle and footprint of the farm. Planet Friendly eggs are the first product to come out of these models, with sustainable beef, lamb and fruit and vegetables to follow.

A report by the University of Cambridge has confirmed the carbon neutral status of Morrisons new Planet Friendly Eggs, having analysed all carbon emissions in the eggs’ production and those which are offset on Morrisons first carbon neutral egg farm. The report considers the holistic production of the eggs, including the Better Origin X1 insect growing unit and food waste transport, the sourcing of locally grown grain and the hen housing and care.

The product is also set to be the first to feature the British Lion Egg green stamp on its eggs to indicate the lower environmental impact to customers.

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Morrisons Planet Friendly Eggs cost 30p each or £1.50 for a pack of six. They are initially available in 50 Yorkshire stores and Morrisons new lower environmental impact store in Little Clacton, with a national rollout planned for 2023.

Sophie Throup, Head of Agriculture at Morrisons, said: “This is our first carbon neutral product and there will be many more to come. It’s all part of our drive to be directly supplied only by ‘zero emission’ British farms by 2030. We know our customers consider the environmental impact of the food they eat and want affordable zero emission produce. Eggs are a regular weekly purchase for most households and so we’re thrilled that after 18 months of hard work with our farmers – these eggs are finally hitting our shelves.”

Ian Bamford, Commercial Director Centre for Industrial Sustainability at the University of Cambridge, said: “We were very pleased to have the opportunity to review and analyse the approach that Morrisons have taken to calculating the carbon impact of several of their egg producers. It was clear that the mitigation actions that had been put in place by the first farm to produce carbon neutral eggs enabled them to meet that goal.”

Mark Williams, Chief Executive for the British Egg Industry Council, said: “It’s great to see that Morrisons has launched a carbon neutral British Lion egg pack under its own brand, in a first for a UK retailer. Eggs generally have a significantly lower environmental impact than other animal proteins and they are a highly nutritious, natural and great tasting choice for all the family. We look forward to seeing more green Lions in the near future.”

An insect ‘mini farm’ was introduced onto the egg farm to feed the hens. The ‘mini farm’ container, in which millions of insects are kept, was developed and powered by Better Origin. Each container can help feed 32,000 free range hens and receives three tonnes of waste from Morrisons fruit and vegetable site each week. The insects can grow to 5,000 times their initial body mass in less than 14 days.

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Fotis Fotiadis, CEO & Founder at Better Origin, said: “We are thrilled to see Morrisons introduce a carbon neutral product, powered by our technology, to the public. The current food supply chain isn’t sustainable in the long term and while it is certainly effective, it’s coming at a cost to the environment. Our ambition at Better Origin is to change that by creating a more sustainable circular food chain, so to finally see the first carbon neutral product from Morrisons hit the shelves is testament to the incredible work of the Morrisons team involved.”

(Lead image: Morrisons)

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Call for review of minimum alcohol pricing in Wales after link to drug deaths

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The negative consequences of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol have emerged again this week after experts warned it was driving people to cheap street drugs, linked to hundreds of deaths, instead.

Statistics confirming Scotland remains the drug death capital of Europe – some 1,330 people died from drugs in 2021 – prompted The Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF), a leading addiction group, to state it believed some young people are being driven by the MUP to make use of cheaper street drugs.

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This has spread concern in Wales which introduced its own MUP shortly after Scotland, with the Welsh Conservative calling for a review.

The Party raised the alarm two weeks ago after a new study was reported to strongly suggest that the MUP – a law pushed through by the Labour Government in Cardiff in 2020 – does not curb drinking for more vulnerable consumers.

SDF Chief Executive said: “Some young people who may have been likely to drink cheap ciders seem to now be using so-called street Valium. Our concern is that using street drugs is inherently dangerous and if people are using these and alcohol in combination the risk is raised again.”

Annemarie Ward of Faces & Voices of Recovery UK (Favor), a drug and alcohol charity promoting recovery, echoed the concern: “Anecdotally, this is the case. If you can buy street Valium at 20 pence a pill, and the price of super strength alcohol is more expensive and has risen, you will take the cheapest route to oblivion. We predicted this when minimum alcohol pricing was introduced.”

Last month, the Scottish government’s health body Public Health Scotland found that MUP had led problem drinkers to sacrifice heating and eating to pay for alcohol.

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Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said: “The increasing number of stories about the negative effects of minimum unit alcohol pricing proves that Labour was wrong to ignore the laws of unintended consequences when they passed it in Wales despite our calls to prevent this very thing from happening.

“We know just how destructive drugs can be, so to see these experts in Scotland linking the MUP to increased drug-use and deaths demonstrates a wild disregard from both the SNP and Labour to the flaws of their own policies because it was unhelpful to highlight them.

“We asked for a sunset clause to be placed into the MUP Bill to bring the law to an end should it fail. It is increasingly looking like the MUP is fast becoming a case study in how to make bad law – a manual of which Labour is the sole author.

“Given the increasing escalation of concerns about the MUP, I will be asking the Labour Government to review the MUP to evaluate just how damaging it is. Maybe then it will start making good law rather than copying Nicola Sturgeon’s toxic playbook.”

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