Sustainability in Drinks

Sustainability in Drinks

By: Ben Cooper

Every month, Ben Cooper casts his eye over sustainability efforts in the global drinks industry.



Why sustainability cues offer a marketing opportunity for spirits - Sustainability Spotlight 25 Jun 2019

A strawberry-flavoured vodka made by distilling the discarded whey from cheese-making, an apple vodka flavoured with 14 varietals of "non-GMO" apples and an organic gin and vodka from Speyside. All making their drinks industry bow in the last few weeks, these new products underline emphatically the growing trend for positioning spirits on sustainability attributes.


Why craft brewers must turn up their ethical volume - Sustainability Spotlight 31 May 2019

The merger of Boston Beer Co and fellow craft brewer Dogfish Head Brewery earlier this month shows craft brewers are far from immune from the challenging conditions in the US beer sector. In today's market, strong sustainability credentials might be expected to bolster craft brewers but, Ben Cooper writes, craft brewers are underplaying their sustainability profile. With more powerful competitors taking every opportunity to promote sustainability achievements, modesty is a dubious virtue.


Why drinks brands must move beyond comfortable consensus on climate change - Sustainability Spotlight 25 Apr 2019

Ben Cooper looks at the impact the recent increase in environmental activism might have on how consumers judge drinks companies' actions in relation to climate change.


Why drinks companies must respond to consumer demands for transparency - Sustainability Spotlight 28 Mar 2019

The Coca-Cola Co's admission earlier this month that it produces 3m tonnes of plastic packaging per year was a landmark moment for the soft drinks giant, though clearly not one it was hastening to greet. This is not only a significant moment in the campaign to address plastic waste, Ben Cooper writes, but points to the shifting ground on what companies must disclose and what is acceptable for them to keep to themselves.


How important is the plastic crisis? More important than Brexit - Sustainability Spotlight 20 Feb 2019

Public policy and corporate action in relation to plastic packaging were always likely to remain much-discussed topics in 2019. Less than two months into the year, this is proving to be the case. Ben Cooper reports.


What will be the biggest sustainability trends in 2019? - Sustainability Spotlight 1 Feb 2019

Already the most significant long-term trend affecting drinks companies, climate change will top the 2019 agenda with an acceleration in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions urgently needed. Agricultural supply chains will be a prime focus as companies come under pressure to reduce their indirect 'Scope 3' emissions. Ben Cooper investigates.


What are the biggest global risks facing drinks companies in 2019? - Sustainability Spotlight 23 Jan 2019

The publication of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risks Report 2019 last week showed environmental issues again dominating the long-term global risk landscape. For drinks companies, however, their significant exposure to climate-related risk only tells part of the story, with their supply chains particularly threatened by a combination of risk factors. Ben Cooper reports.


Why the soft drinks category is trapped in a plastic corner - Sustainability Spotlight 29 Nov 2018

Faced with relentless campaigning and mounting public concern about plastic pollution, soft drinks companies have no choice but to act to mitigate the environmental impact of their packaging. As new research is published underlining the increasing importance of sustainable packaging to consumers, Ben Cooper assesses the soft drinks sector's engagement with a recently-launched global initiative on plastic use.


Sugar - Which works best? Doing it yourself or being told what to do? - Sustainability Spotlight 13 Jul 2018

This year saw the launch of the first non-stop passenger service from Australia to the UK, reducing a journey that once took 42 days to a little over 17 hours. Soft drinks companies Down Under may be glad Australia's lawmakers appear so far to have resisted the chance of a quick trip back to the land of their forebears. Had they done so they might have heard their UK government counterparts waxing lyrical about the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) on full-sugar soft drinks.


Company plastic pledges - reason to be positive or time to panic? - Sustainability Spotlight 31 May 2018

The way plastic is used to package food and drinks has shot up the consumer agenda in recent months. In response, there has been a flurry of drinks companies announcing pledges on their use of packaging. The pressure is on to act. However, David Burrows argues businesses should be mindful before leaping on the latest developments in packaging while NGOs are arguing some of the companies' commitments are far from ambitious.


Why consumers don't yet know about your sustainability efforts - Sustainability Spotlight 30 May 2018

A recently-published study suggests consumers may not be as drawn to Anheuser-Busch InBev's new 100% renewable electricity icon as the brewer might hope for. But, Ben Cooper writes, there are factors other than consumer sentiment driving the beverage sector's investment in renewable energy.


Why the drinks industry is falling behind food on sustainability matters - Sustainability Spotlight 14 May 2018

A new report from US-based sustainability non-profit Ceres, which assesses the performance of 613 US-based publicly-traded corporations on a comprehensive range of sustainability criteria, reveals food and drinks to be among the most progressive and highest-achieving sectors. However, the research does not reflect well on the drinks sector specifically.


Water – Why drinks companies must think global but act local - Sustainability Spotlight 6 Apr 2018

When it comes to sustainability, water is always near the top of the list for drinks companies. This month, sustainability commentator Ben Cooper considers recent efforts in this area by several sizeable drinks groups.


Will Keurig Dr Pepper merger prompt change in sustainability strategy? – Sustainability Spotlight 1 Mar 2018

In his latest look at sustainability efforts across the drinks industry, sustainability expert Ben Cooper digs behind last month's headlines of the 'merger' of Keurig Green Mountain and Dr Pepper Snapple Group. What he discovers, from a sustainability perspective, makes for some challenging reading.


Will 2018 be the year we solve the plastic problem? – Sustainability Spotlight 13 Feb 2018

Earlier this month, just-drinks talked to Evian global brand director Patricia Oliva about the water brand's recent commitment to make all its bottles from recycled plastic by 2025. Here, sustainability editor Ben Cooper considers how Evian's move underlines the increased attention being focused on plastics recycling. Ben also flags up some other sustainability hotspots for the coming year.


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