Shed 1 Distillery: Climate Positive Processes

Module one

The climate for SMEs: 4 steps to action toolkit helps SMEs to understand their carbon footprint and take action to reduce it with the goal of achieving net zero emissions. Our case studies highlight SMEs at different stages on their journey to net zero.

Shed 1 Distillery was launched in October 2016 by husband and wife team Andy and Zoe Arnold-Bennett. It produces award-winning, small batch, classically distilled craft gin with a contemporary style. We spoke to Zoe about the proactive approach Shed 1 Distillery is taking to be a climate positive business.

Sourcing ingredients sustainably

We wanted sustainability to be a central part of Shed 1 Distillery. So we made a conscious decision to integrate sustainable practices into our business methods, from sourcing and production through to distribution.

When it comes to the ingredients we use, we’re committed to sourcing the highest quality and that means that some have a high carbon footprint. The best cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg just don’t grow well, or in the quantities we need, in the UK. But we buy from UK growers and importers where we can. Our chilies start their life in Warton, Lancashire and we continually research UK sources for our botanicals, recently finding a British company growing high quality coriander in Suffolk.

Processes and packaging

The gin making process requires a lot of water to cool. To combat this, we introduced a closed loop cooling system that allows us to reuse water, saving thousands of litres per distil.

All our packaging is recycled, recyclable, reusable or compostable. We’ve invested in a cardboard shredder which means we can shred the cardboard we get from the goods we order in. And from that, we make nets to wrap the goods we send out. When we need to, we supplement with green, biodegradable bubble wrap which, if it ends up in landfill, degrades and adds nutrients to the soil.

Our carbon footprint

We run our business from a rental property so we’re dependent on the heating and energy options that our landlord chooses. But we’re committed to addressing this and are in talks with the owners about changing energy providers.

To offset our current carbon footprint, we’ve partnered with Ecologi. Through Ecologi’s online resource we buy trees and invest in various CO2 and humanitarian projects around the world. We also use it as a marketing tool, committing to buy an extra tree for every online order we receive. This resource allows us to remove 3.5 tonnes of CO2 per month and we’ve become Green Small Business Certified. And we’ve won the Gin Guide Environmental Sustainability Awards for two years running!

Getting to net zero

We’re proud to have teamed up with Small Business Britain with their latest initiative for micro and small businesses to commit to be net zero by 2050. And we were invited to meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street to launch the nationwide Together for our Planet campaign, running in the build up to COP26.

Together for our Planet will celebrate small businesses taking steps to decarbonise their companies and encourage others to take similar steps to achieve net zero by 2050.

We’re happy to say that through ongoing initiatives within the business and by offsetting our carbon footprint, we’re making a positive difference and have been net zero for the last few months. Size shouldn’t be a barrier to change and although this approach comes with challenges, with pragmatism and ambition Shed 1 Distillery is proof that all businesses, small, medium and large, can adopt climate positive processes.

This was last updated in June 2021 by Heart of the City. We’ve created these resources for individual SMEs to use. None of our content is to be adapted, reused or repurposed for commercial use.