Earth Day 2024: Scottish businesses offering sustainable spirits and drinks

Published 19th Apr 2024
Updated 19 th Apr 2024

This year sees the 54th Earth Day, which was established in1970, and there are different ways to mark it, including buying sustainable spirits and from B-Cop businesses.

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day was founded to raise awareness and bring people together for environmental awareness. Since then, the Earth Day organisation has led various fundraising campaigns, awareness events, and more.

Many Scottish food and drink businesses are striving to be more environmentally-friendly, from reducing plastic packaging, cutting down on emissions, changing and adapting growing practises to applying to become B-Corp certified.

What is B-Corp?

B Corporation is a private certification of for-profit companies that takes into account their"social and environmental performance". 

The official description reads: "B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials."

Here we take a look at some of the best businesses in Scotland who are striving to be greener, and what products you can buy to support this.

Dear Green

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Picture: Dear Green

Glasgow-based Dear Green coffee roasters gained B Corp status in 2021, with founder Lisa Lawson saying: "Gaining B Corp certification is one of our proudest moments at Dear Green.

"To have the ethical standards which are intrinsically in the culture of the company audited and verified to be of the highest standard is incredible."

The coffee roasters joined internationally renowned brands including Innocent, Patagonia and The Body Shop in earning the B Corp accolade.

The company was founded by Lisa when she became frustrated by how staff, producers, customers and the environment were treated by the industry.

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Dear Green has been dedicated to putting social and environmental responsibility, sustainability and purpose ahead of profit ever since.

Arbikie Disitllery

Earth Day

This family-run farm-to-bottle distillery in Lunan Bay has been working tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions and offer customers a truly field to bottle range of spirits.

In 2020 they launched their first climate positive gin, Nadar, which was followed by a vodka.

Nàdar, which means nature in Gaelic, is thought to be the world's first climate positive gin made from peas.

A revolutionary spirit for the drinks industry, with a carbon footprint of -1.54 kg CO 2 e per 700ml bottle, it is at the forefront of the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss - the biggest challenges humankind has ever faced.

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Nadar is the result of five years of research, through Master Distiller, Kirsty Black’s, PhD studentship between Abertay University and The James Hutton Institute.

Arbikie also gained planning permission to build a 1 MW Wind Turbine on its farm at Lunan Bay in 2022, which will allow the production of green hydrogen.

Arbikie believes it will be the first distillery in the world to be powered with green hydrogen, another major milestone on their journey to becoming one of the world’s most sustainable distilleries.

Bruichladdich

Earth day bruichladdich jobs

Bruichladdich became B-Corp certified in 2020. Of this, the team at Bruichladdich said: "Highlights that helped us to achieve our original certification included our benefits package to staff.

"These include Living Wage employment, a 5-10% bonus scheme shared for 100% of our staff, annual cost of living adjustments as well we private healthcare, life assurance provisions and 34 days paid annual leave as standard. We’re also a diverse employer with a sound training and development program. Our team in 2020 had 50%+ female senior management and an age range of staff spanning from 19 to 75 years of age.

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"Our progressive attitude towards our community and sustainability also helped us qualify. We circulate the wastewater from our stills to heat our offices, bottling hall and visitor centre. We switched to 100% green electricity, sourced within the UK. We have ambitious plans for the future, and we can confidently say we are on our way."

Nc'Nean

earth day

Nc’Nean was named a 2022 Best for the World B Corp in recognition of exceptional positive impact for its environmental stewardship,  ranking in the top 5% of all B Corps for that category in their corresponding size group.

Best for the World is a distinction granted by B Lab to Certified B Corporations (B Corps) whose verified B Impact Scores in the five impact areas evaluated in the B Impact Assessment — community, customers, environment, governance, and workers — hit that top percentage category.

Nc’nean earned this accolade based on initiatives such as powering the distillery with 100% renewable energy, using organic barley sourced exclusively from Scotland and bottling its whisky in a 100% recycled clear glass bottle – a UK first for a premium spirit.

Rigorous in its approach to sustainable production, in 2021 it became the first whisky distillery in the UK to be verified as net zero for its own operations.

Nc’nean founder Annabel Thomas said of this: “As a small, passionate team we are incredibly proud to have achieved this accolade, which reflects our deep-rooted commitment to championing the most sustainable production processes.

"We are extremely pleased with our very high score of 73.3 under the environmental stewardship section and being championed as one of the top 5% of B Corps in our size group for that category worldwide is a fantastic achievement.

"We are not afraid to challenge perceptions of the way things should be done in the whisky industry and will continue to pioneer best practice with our ongoing environmental initiatives.”

Brewgooder

North Hop
Picture: Brewgooder Twitter

Another Scottish drinks brand that has been named Best for the World B Corp in recognition is Brewgooder. The firm achieved this in 2021.

The team said of the accolade: "The ‘Best for the World’ are B Corps whose scores in one or more of the five impact areas assessed towards the certification, reach the top 5% of all B Corps worldwide. At Brewgooder, we have been recognised for our clean water efforts in the Community area.

"As all B Corps are already businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose — this is a recognition that makes us incredibly proud.

"And we’re just getting started… We will continue collaborating with the global B Corp community to improve and positively impact through the power of great craft beer."

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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