Responsible Sourcing Case Study:
Sustainable Barley Sourcing in the UK
Molson Coors (UK & Ireland) uses 150,000 tonnes of barley each year, so even before quality is taken into account, the procurement team has its work cut out to ensure sufficient supply. In 2008, Molson Coors in partnership with our major grain merchant, Frontier Agriculture, and facilitated by the English Farming and Food Partnerships (EFFP) – set up the Molson Coors Growers Group (MCGG), dedicated to ensuring a regular and guaranteed supply of top-quality barley. The 137 members of the group now supply more than 37,000 tonnes of barley for Molson Coors.
The group’s purpose is to:
- Secure a sustainable supply of high quality malting barley from local and important barley growing regions of the UK;
- Provide value to Molson Coors and the farmers; and
- Implement best practice and innovation in the supply chain.
The group is led by a steering group made up of regional growers and representatives from each of the parent groups. The steering group ensures that each party is fairly represented in terms of inputs and outputs from the activities; commercial, quality, supply terms and personal goals.
In 2011, we jointly renewed the growers’ commitments, having explored opportunities to push the remit further. We now have a joint agreement to focus upon and develop the following areas to meet both the growers’ and Molson Coors’ long term sustainability strategy:
- Biodiversity & Ecosystems: Established the LEAF Simply Sustainable Water booklet and associated rollout in 2013.
- Resource Efficiency: In the AGM each year we encourage best practice sharing groups, roundtable discussions, set up long term communication links, and encourage trials and site visits.
- Sociability: We have raised over £6000 for the Princes Countryside Fund and arrange regional seasonal meeting to maintain the link to each other and back to Molson Coors.
- Education & Awareness: Invited customers (Asda) and key industry spokespeople (National Farmers’ Union, Guest Farmers, HGCA representatives) into the annual AGM to share views about current and future industry trends and topics. Site visits include brewing tours and associated product tours (Marmite factory).
Annually, a Molson Coors Grower of the Year is awarded to the grower who has delivered the most towards the group in terms of commitment to contract, quality, and engagement with the group and meeting.
The members are at the forefront of the negotiating process, and the group is all about implementing best practice. We have had talks and farm visits on best practice, barley agronomy and grain storage through to grain marketing. It also gives the growers a chance to tell us what is important to them, and us the chance to respond. We are discussing matters such as ecosystems and biodiversity, resource efficiency, the media perception of the farming industry, and the health of the farming sector as a whole.
- Jerry Dyson, Molson Coors Brewing Materials Sourcing Manager