Bombay Sapphire Distillery Wins in Sustainability

What is your company doing to incorporate more sustainable measures into its business practices? If the answer is nothing, that’s probably going to cost you. Solar City, an energy service provider in San Mateo, Calif., reported its findings on consumer trends in sustainability and found that 55 percent of consumers are actively seeking green products and services.


The company found that 72 percent of consumers want to learn more about corporate sustainability initiatives, 75 percent are more likely to buy a product or service if the company is making an effort to be sustainable and 82 percent are likely to purchase a product that represents corporate social responsibility than one that does not.  

Making an Impact

Bombay Sapphire recently converted an 18th century paper mill in Hampshire, England into its distillery and received the highest honor for its sustainability measures from the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. The Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill received the 2014 Industrial Award from Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM). Laverstoke Mill also was the first distillery and first refurbishment to achieve an “outstanding” design-stage BREEAM accreditation for its distillery process buildings.

BREEAM sets the standard for best practices in sustainable building design, construction and operation. It has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognized measures of a building’s environmental performance. “With sensible methods to reduce, reuse and recycle materials, Bombay Sapphire will preserve the mill’s rich history and protect it for centuries to come,” Estate Manager Will Brix said. “From the beginning, sustainability formed the heart of this good-spirited project and the changes made have breathed new life into the walls of Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill.”  

Bombay Sapphire, a Bacardi-owned brand, took a number of sustainability measures when constructing its new distillery. Those measures include:

  • Photovoltaic array and hydroelectric turbines that provide renewable and low-carbon energy, which results in a 38 percent savings.
  •  A biomass boiler provides heat and hot water using botanical by-products of the distillation process as a fuel source.
  • Excess biomass that is required will use local, sustainably sourced woodchips.
  • Ash produced by the biomass boiler is used to fertilize the soil on local farms.
  • Throughout construction, key building materials such as bricks and roof tiles from demolished buildings were recycled and reused.
  • Rainwater harvesting and flow-restricted water devices are located throughout the site.
  • The distillery received an A rating on its Energy Performance Certificate.
  • Building-related carbon emissions are less than 4kgCO2/m2.

 Rich History

A mill has been onsite in Laverstoke since at least 903 AD, but the first official records show Laverstoke Mill as a corn mill marked in the Domesday Book of 1086, the company says. In 1719, printer Henry Portal leased Laverstoke Mill and converted it into a paper mill to manufacture bank notes for the British Empire. Papermaking ended at Laverstoke Mill in 1963. The mill was then converted to a water treatment facility in 1970 and in 2010 was purchased by Bombay Spirits Co. to convert into its Bombay Sapphire distillery. Laverstoke Mill has also been under the ownership of William the Conqueror and Henry VIII, and Queen Elizabeth visited the mill four times in 1962. “Transforming a 300-year-old paper mill with more than 1,000 years of history [that is located] within a conservation area and is a site of special scientific interest took patience and dedication,” the company says. “Working with Heatherwick Studio, Bombay Sapphire sympathetically renovated Laverstoke Mill into a state-of-the-art sustainable distillery that showcases the natural beauty and industrial heritage of the site.”

Raising the Bar

Bombay Sapphire definitely raised the bar by incorporating many different sustainability measures in its new distillery, but we have seen companies still make a big impact with consumers even if only incorporating just a few green features. Take a look at Central Waters Brewing in Junction City, Wis., from our fall issue, for example. The company reduced its power needs by 20 percent, reduced its water usage and installed two large sets of solar panels to warm the brewery and provide hot water to the brew house.

It shows that the company supports a greater cause than its own and is making an effort to decrease its environmental footprint. “Shrinking our footprint is important because without water, energy, farmers and the ability to grow barley and hops, we don’t have a business,” owner Anello Mollica says. “It’s our duty to try and shrink the amount of resources we use on a daily basis because, otherwise, we aren’t around.”

Today, Central Waters claims to be one of the greenest brewers in the United States and is the only brewery to be awarded by the Green Masters Program in Wisconsin, which recognizes businesses that have shrunk their environmental footprints. Incorporating sustainable measures into a business model is critical to any company’s future and we don’t see that changing any time soon.

Columnist Dexter Manning shared six steps to building a sustainable business strategy in our winter issue. And guess what? Manning says it’s not only good thing to do, but it also makes excellent business sense. Whether heeding the warning or not, companies will inevitably see a difference in customer loyalty and marketshare depending on their choice.

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