Today is Earth #Overshoot Day meaning we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year

2 August

Sustainability and Business- Can Social Businesses Lead the Way? 

Sustainable development has become almost ubiquitous in the vocabulary of many governments, millennials and climate advocates since the launch of the SDGs in 2014. The Bruntland definition of sustainable development has remained as one of the most common and widely used explanations. The Brundtland Commission’s report defined sustainable development as “development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.[1]  I believe this definition, originally published in 1987, is still relevant and applicable today with some added text and maybe the odd asterisk…

For many people, the question of ensuring that businesses develop, grow and adapt sustainably remains. So how can businesses play an essential role in shaping a more sustainable future? Using Brewgooder as a shining example, I want to highlight the ways in which this company operates in a sustainable and innovative way by asking their drinkers to ‘drink beer, give water’. 

A Social Business – Brewgooder’s Story So Far

Brewgooder is a social business which launched last year in Edinburgh by Alan Mahon and Josh Littlejohn, two entrepreneurs that are committed to making a difference in the world. Brewgooder is on a mission to provide 1,000,000 people with clean drinking water through the power of craft beer.

Last year, on World Water Day they launched Brewgooder with a crowdfund. A successful five weeks later, raising £59,000 provided the capital needed for the first can run. Keeping things in Scotland, the two founders approached BrewDog to ask if they would brew the beer. Our Clean Water Lager is brewed by BrewDog who have world class credentials for environmental impact, reusing waste water and organic material from across Aberdeenshire.

Since the first can run last May, Brewgooder has gone from strength to strength; gaining a national listing with ASDA Supermarkets, in the top 3 of best performing SKUs within the Aldi Summer Beer Festival and being stocked in over 120 independent on-trade stockists throughout Scotland.

Harnessing the social power of beer has already had significant impacts elsewhere in the world. Since launching last March, Brewgooder has managed to provide 5,000 people in Malawi with clean drinking water just from people drinking our beer. Analysis from craft beer trends has revealed that millennials are 87% more likely to purchase a product with social or environmental benefit.[2] By choosing to drink our beer, drinkers are literally transforming the lives of other people.

Sustainability is at the Core of Our Brand

Brewgooder’s Clean Water Lager is available in cans, meaning it’s the best option for the planet.  Cans are lighter than bottles, meaning less CO² emissions during transport. Cans are also infinitely recyclable meaning less waste and cost. Our cans also help our brand in several other ways. Canning our beer provides extra protection against oxygen and light as opposed to bottling. Less oxygen and light means fresher, tastier beer and provides a longer shelf life.

We use the phrase ‘Every Can Tells A Story’ to promote our beer and brand. Our cans give a greater design area to allow us to tell our completely unique message: drink beer give water. The can conveys our mission with the artwork displaying the fermentation tanks used in the brewing process and the wells used to provide people with clean drinking water. 

‘Drink Beer Give Water’ – Why?

Although Scotland has seen an extremely wet summer in 2017, the world continues to face a world water crisis. According to recent figures released by the United Nations in July 2017, 884 million people lack even a basic drinking- water service, including 159 million people who are dependent on surface water. Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces and contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 502,000 diarrhoeal deaths each year. By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.[3]

Choosing products that have a social impact doesn’t have to be at the expense of quality or sustainability. Our beer is brewed by one of the best breweries in the world. We give 100% of our beer profits to our charity, The Brewgooder Foundation, and allow people to enjoy a beer with the guarantee that they are having a positive impact elsewhere.  

Hopefully this insight gives you another reason to ‘Drink Beer Give Water’.



[1] Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, (1987)
[2] ‘Life-stage, gender and other key factors impact how Millennial audiences will engage in CSR’ – Cone Communication 2015
[3] World Health Organisation, 2017, [http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs391/en/]

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