Doing the right thing

Here at AG 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...


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 145 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.

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Our actions can contribute towards global improvements. The United Nations has established 17 SDGs which are its blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Our No Time To Waste programme aligns with goals 12 and 13.

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

The road to net zero

We are pleased to report that following our full carbon footprint assessment in 2021, we have now set clear science-based carbon reduction targets that will underpin our decarbonisation plans and our net zero commitments. 

We have accelerated our carbon reduction programme across our Scope 1 and 2 emissions and are committing to be net zero across our own operations by 2035.  We have a deliverable and realistic decarbonisation roadmap which builds on the progress we have made and pushes further, from electric vehicles and solar panels to air source heat pumps and degasification projects.  

For our indirect Scope 3 emissions, including purchased goods and services as well as upstream and downstream transport and distribution, we are working closely with our suppliers and partners with a commitment to become net zero across our full supply chain by 2050, if not sooner. 


Note : Our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions have been verified against the ISO 14064-3 standard

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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.


Cutting greenhouse gases

We've achieved a 45% reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions since 2015

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Delivering efficiency

Some of our 2021 energy efficiency highlights:

  • Our fleet of forklift trucks transitioned away from LPG to 100% renewable electricity, resulting in estimated annual CO2e savings of 300 tonnes (based on 2020 numbers)

  • Electric vehicle charging points installed at our Cumbernauld and Milton Keynes sites in order to support the transition of employee and Company cars towards electric vehicles

  • Trial of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil as an alternative fuel to diesel 

  • First full year of procuring REGO-backed renewable electricity across all our operational sites, leading to a significant reduction in Scope 2 emissions 


We believe that packaging should be treated by all as a valuable resource and recycled, not discarded as litter.  100% of our soft drinks packaging is recyclable, with clear on-pack recycling messages.  In addition, we continually seek to reduce the amount of packaging we use and have made significant achievements in this area.  We use 20% less material in our plastic bottle designs than we did more than a decade ago and we recently removed difficult to recycle polypropylene sleeves from millions of our bottles.  

As part of our No Time To Waste environmental sustainability programme, our plastic and packaging workstream has established a clear strategy with a long-term goal of 100% circular packaging.  This means a future where packaging is reduced, reused and recycled. 

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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.

As a founder member of Circularity Scotland Limited (CSL), the new not-for-profit administrator of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), we’re committed to creating a truly circular system for drinks containers. 

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 for example reach as high as 98%. 

In addition, the quality of recycled material available from a DRS system is expected to be much higher than the quality produced by current household recycling.  We believe this will vastly improve the availability of recycled material to go back into our drinks containers.

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100% recycled plastic bottles

We’re on track to have all IRN-BRU and Rubicon in bottles made from 100% recycled plastic in 2022, with the rest of the portfolio following suit in 2023

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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.

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Goodby plastic straws

We’re the first to offer a paper straw, in a paper wrapper, on our small juice packs - all made from quality FSC paper. This action removed 10 million plastic straws from our supply chain.

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Leading the way

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

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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.

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New plant-based pack

Our 1 litre cartons now contain plant based plastic reducing each carton's carbon footprint by 21%. The new packs now carry the Carbon Trust logo as a result.

Water and waste

As a drinks manufacturer, water is a principal ingredient and as such we understand how valuable it is as a resource.  However, there is increasing awareness of the challenges faced in managing water resources and we are extremely aware of the part we have to play in protecting this precious commodity.

We are also committed to the prevention of pollution and continually seek to understand and minimise the direct and indirect environmental impacts of our operations. We work to avoid, reduce or control the creation and emission of any type of pollutant or waste.

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Partnership with Biffa

By partnering with waste management leaders Biffa, we have moved from a position of having 50 different waste providers across our sites to just one. With Biffa’s help our sites now carry out monthly audits of waste and have kicked-off several waste reduction projects.

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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

In 2021 we undertook detailed analysis of our water footprint at all our production sites.  By working with an independent agency to carry out a thorough audit across our manufacturing sites, we now have a better understanding of how and where we use water, and can now take a more evidence-based approach to our water reduction and reuse plans in the coming year.

The results of that work have allowed us to develop a water strategy for the business, with clear targets and an action plan of water efficiency improvement initiatives to deliver over the next three years. 

Sustainable sourcing

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.  

As one of our No Time To Waste environmental sustainability workstreams, we reviewed and updated our sustainable sourcing strategy in 2021, reinforcing our commitment to supplying high-quality products that are sourced and manufactured in a fair, ethical and environmentally responsible way.   

As part of this review we developed a new Supplier Code of Conduct, setting out the key supplier principles we work to and the minimum standards we require our suppliers to meet, which form part of their contractual commitments to us.  This Code is fundamental to ensuring we work with suppliers who uphold the highest standards with respect to human rights, conditions of employment and who actively reduce their environmental footprint.  We ensure our critical suppliers have embedded sustainable and ethical practices in their organisations, and that they are committed to maintaining these principles within their own supply chain.

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