Greener Retailing was a project run by Manchester Metropolitan University and Robinsons Brewery to support pro-environmental actions in tenanted and leased pubs
The Robinsons Brewery and the Centre for Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School collaborated on this project to address the issue of food waste in retailing in Greater Manchester.
According to their research, there are over 50,000 pubs in the UK, which generate approximately 873,800 tonnes of waste every year. Of this waste, approximately 173,000 tonnes is wasted food, costing the sector £357 million annually.
The main aim of the project was to influence the sustainability behaviour of both the Brewery and its tenanted Public Houses (pubs) who lease premises from the Brewery but operate as independent businesses (either Microbusinesses or SMEs).
The focus of the project was to promote better resource efficiency in terms of energy, packaging and food waste with the aim of making the businesses more competitive as well as more sustainable. This was achieved through academics working closely with the Brewery to understand the current state of environmental literacy and develop tools and guidance to support Public Houses to implement behavioural change.
The findings were captured in the Greener Retailing Publicans Guide, which contains information on reducing food and drink waste, improving energy and water efficiency and disposing of trade waste. The pubs involved experienced an increase in profits, with one pub (the Swan Inn) reporting an increased profit on food from 63% to 76% as a result of participation in the project.
The project received £48,877 UK research council funding plus in kind support from both partners.
Evidence of success
The project achieved a high impact in terms of reach. Participating pubs have seen their profits grow from being involved in the project with one reporting an increase in gross profit from 63% to 76%. The Brewery developed a ‘greener retailing certificate’ to support the businesses implementing the project’s guidance.
Encouraging staff behavioural change was highlighted as a challenge of the project.
Potential for learning or transfer
This is a good example of an academia industry partnership that addresses a key priority for Interreg. Not only did it combine academic expertise with commercial experience and contacts, it also took advantage of supply chain relationships within the food sector to promote the project’s reach and impact. This model has strong promise as a way to engage with large numbers of SMEs in the food sector who typically have time and resource constraints and operate a business model which is not centred on sustainability.