Our environmental sustainability programme

Doing the right thing

A word from our Chief Executive

We’re proud of our business and proud of the positive contribution we’ve been making to society for over 140 years. Behaving responsibly at AG Barr is about:

  • Acting with integrity

  • Respecting the environment

  • Supporting healthy living

  • Giving back

Our environment and natural resources are precious and we take our environmental responsibilities seriously. It’s more important than ever that we play our part in addressing the key issues facing society, such as tackling the impact of climate change.

This mindset is being brought to life by our No Time To Waste environmental sustainability programme. As you can see we are already taking action and are increasing our ambitions and accelerating our plans.

We believe there’s no time to waste.

Roger White, Chief Executive

Want to know more?

Our Responsibility Report shares details on the progress we're making across our four key areas.

Our new mantra

Here at A.G. Barr we hate waste, in fact, we’ve no time for it. So much so it’s becoming our mantra - No Time to Waste. No time to waste on our carbon net zero journey. No time to waste increasing our use of sustainable packaging. And no time to waste reducing our environmental impact. It’s our long-term vision and an ongoing commitment, but we have the bottle, and there’s no time to waste.

Read on to find out more about our progress and plans...

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Our actions can contribute towards global improvements. There are 17 SDGs in total, established by the United Nations, acting as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives of people around the world. Our No Time To Waste programme aligns with goals 12 and 13.

Externally accredited since 2003

We have been accredited to the Environmental Standard ISO 14001 since 2003, the international standard for effective environmental management.

Our carbon footprint

Carbon net zero by 2040

Working with independent experts we’re accurately assessing our current carbon footprint across our full product life cycle and value chain - from our suppliers and the goods we purchase, the resources, fuel and energy we use in our day to day activities, right through to the point we deliver to customers.

This important data will allow us to accurately measure and verify our full carbon footprint for the first time. We will then set science-based carbon reduction targets and build a deliverable and realistic decarbonisation roadmap. Our ambition is to be carbon net zero by 2040, if not sooner, and we will share our net zero roadmap during the course of 2021.

What are science-based targets?

Science-based targets are greenhouse gas reduction targets aligned to the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement was signed by 196 governments in 2015 and aims to keep average temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Cutting greenhouse gases

We've achieved a 41% reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions since 2015

Going renewable

In 2020 we introduced fossil-free electricity across all our sites - a big step towards our carbon net zero goal. The ten-year contract supplies us with 22GWh per year from wind farms in the UK - the equivalent electricity used by 6,000 UK homes annually.

Delivering efficiency

Our 2020 energy efficiency projects delivered:

  • 2% expected annual reduction in our Cumbernauld site’s energy consumption thanks to a new energy monitoring system

  • 26,000kWh annual energy saving in our Cumbernauld warehouse after installation of new more efficient LED lighting

  • 39,650 litres of gas oil saved, equating to 425,000kWh per annum, following the removal of a boiler at our Milton Keynes site

  • 245,000 litres year on year diesel fuel reduction across our own vehicles, equating to 2,600,000 kWh of energy savings

Our packaging

100% of our soft drinks packaging is recyclable

100% of our soft drinks packaging is recyclable and recycling messages are displayed on all our drinks. We also use 20% less material in our plastic bottle designs than we did 10 years ago and we recently removed difficult to recycle polypropylene sleeves from millions of our bottles.

We'll be in 100% recycled plastic bottles very soon

We’re going BIGGER and FASTER on our recycled plastic (rPET) ambition - our IRN-BRU and Rubicon plastic bottles will be made from 100% recycled material by early 2022 and all our plastic bottles will be 100% rPET by the end of 2023. There’s no time to waste.

Better for you - better for the planet

Rubicon Spring, our tasty, healthy and hydrating spring water based drink, already has 50% recycled plastic in all its bottles. Better for you and better for the planet. Our Strathmore water bottles have also been in 51% recycled plastic since 2019.

Creating a truly circular system for drinks containers

Deposit return schemes (DRS) incentivise consumers to return their drinks containers through a redeemable deposit payable on every container. In 2021 we became founder members of Circularity Scotland Limited, a not-for-profit organisation set up to operate Scotland’s DRS for drinks containers.

A well designed DRS will set drinks packaging apart, as drinks containers will become part of a truly circular economy. In countries where DRS is already operational, such as Norway and Germany, return rates of plastic bottles reach as high as 98%.

The quality and amount of recycled material available from a DRS system will also vastly improve the availability of good quality recycled material to go back into our drinks containers.

Goodbye plastic straws

We’ll offer a 100% plastic-free solution to straws by Spring of 2021. We’re the first to offer a paper straw, in a paper wrapper, on our small juice packs - all made from quality FSC paper. That removes 10 million plastic straws from our supply chain.

Leading the way

We’re one of the first businesses to introduce 100% recyclable packaging film made from 100% recycled content, which will be on all consumer multipacks by the end of 2021. This move alone will save 400 tonnes of virgin plastic a year - that’s the weight of about 250 cars.

Lightening the load

Packaging keeps our products safe, secure and of optimum quality, but we’re continually striving to find ways to reduce it.

We’ve reduced the weight of shrink wrap used in our factories, removing 75 tonnes of plastic on an annual basis.

We’re also removing over 120,000 cardboard layers at our Milton Keynes and Cumbernauld sites.

NEW plant-based packaging

Our 1 litre cartons will contain ONLY plant based plastic in 2021. Our packs are moving to a more sustainable lower carbon footprint with the switch to plant based plastic, reducing the carton carbon footprint by 21%. The new packs will carry the Carbon Trust logo as a result.

Watch our No Time To Waste video showing progress and plans at our Barr Soft Drinks business.

Our waste and water

100% of our non hazardous waste is diverted from landfill

We reached this important milestone in 2020 and it is now our goal to never again send non hazardous waste to landfill.

Water efficiency

Water is a precious resource and is one of our most important ingredients.

We monitor our water usage constantly to minimise waste and prevent pollution and we will deliver several water efficiency improvement projects in 2021.

Our sustainable sourcing

Working in partnership

As climate change and a rising population put pressure on our limited natural resources, it is important for all our raw materials to be sourced sustainably and used effectively. We work in partnership with all our critical suppliers to ensure that our materials and ingredients are sustainably sourced.

The sourcing of high quality fruit for our Rubicon brand is crucial. Over many years we have built strong relationships with local processors, particularly in India from where we source Alfonso mangoes, the sweetest and widely considered the best mangoes available. By working in close partnership, we ensure the provenance, quality and sustainability of supply are maintained on a long-term and sustainable basis.

Got a question?

Email us at consumercare@agbarr.co.uk