Brecon Carreg Mineral Water: The Welsh Government Responsible SME of the Year 2018

Award Type: 

Winner - The Welsh Government Responsible SME of the Year

Brecon Carreg Mineral Water began 40 years ago in a converted barn at Llwyndewi Farm. Today, the company is the number one water brand in Wales, with 23% of market share. With contracts into major retailers and outlets across Wales, the company has an impressive customer reach and is committed to be sustainable – in every sense of the word – and has the structures and plans in place to achieve this responsibly over the coming years and decades.

Business benefits

  • Engaging staff and rewarding behaviours helped reduce absenteeism rates by 49%
  • Commitment to reducing PET in packaging has saved around £300,000
  • Second food and drink producer in Wales to be recognised by the Ethical Company Organisation

Wider benefits

  • Successfully reduced carbon foot print of the business by 20%
  • Changed behaviours in schools, encouraging children to increase their water consumption by up to 3 cups a day
  • Through Project RainTrain, Brecon diverted 25,000 litres of water away from waste treatment plants, instead sending it back to nature

Brecon Carreg’s mission is to be a sustainable, environmentally and community-focussed mineral water producer. It’s Natural Hydration, Healthy Tomorrow strategy brings together the values, passion, beliefs and commitments into three areas of focus and commitment – proximity to nature; the business footprint; and people and society. The company’s Green Team developed action plans which help to ensure that business decision-making is aligned to these focus areas – putting responsible business at the heart of what it does.

As a small business (39 full time staff), Brecon Carreg understands the immense value in bringing employees, partners and the local community along on its responsible business journey. So the Green Team comprises colleagues from across the business, ensuring that the commitments set out under the strategy are not just the responsibility of one team or individual. 

With its closeness to the environment and natural landscape, Brecon Carreg’s culture is defined by long-term thinking. The company has built 2020 and beyond timelines into its responsible business commitments; targets which spread across all areas of the business and into the community. Community engagement and links with local schools is a key part of the company’s responsible business approach. This led to a pilot programme with Ton Pentre Primary School, where Brecon Carreg were helping to educate children about the value of drinking more water. This programme led to a Healthy Hydration lesson plan and additional educational resources being made available for the school.

Brecon Carreg takes a truly whole-company approach to responsibility and sustainability, resulting in a business that people want to work for (a Great Places To Work rating of 87%) and that is putting its best foot forward on environmental matters. It has not shied away from the plastics challenge, but instead has successfully reduced its carbon footprint and reduced PET in its bottles. Collectively these approaches saving £300,000 for the business and Brecon also only exclusively uses green energy at the production site.

With strong leadership and commitment to being somewhere people want to work, a company that customers want to buy from and an organisation that community groups want to engage with; Brecon Carreg is a well-deserving winner of the Welsh Government Responsible SME of the Year 2018.