‘Knowing ‘Why’ will begin the Sustainability Journey to profits’ An Opinion Article By Hamish Stoddart for the Morning Advertiser

There is usually a reason why you become super determined to make a difference. I encourage others to make more sustainable choices in their businesses, but I have learned everyone needs their own reason, their own why.

Mine came out of a long love for Kenya, and the Masai Mara, it’s wildlife and the people who live there. I spent many years supporting my cousins as farmers trying to make a living growing wheat to feed a growing Kenya. The climate changed, the soil on the farm desertified, so the farm went bust 10 years ago.

There were many reasons why. Climate change was one, both local, the Mau Forest, the largest water catchment in Kenya has been torn down by 25% in 30 years, and within 20 miles half of the bush has been removed for charcoal by a growing local population. Globally the El Nino effect is bigger in Kenya now the earth is warmer, that causes peaks of drought and rain. Global wheat economics was the other – there wasn’t the profit to protect the soil.

So, my cousins re-wilded their farm in the last 10 years. In a bold brave move, they invested all they had left in supporting the Masai families who owned a conservancy of 6000 acres and built their own safari lodge. They didn’t know anything about conservation or hospitality at the beginning. Rangers pushed the poachers away, nature healed itself with the help of the Peach Herd, they inspired local people, aid agencies and safari guests alike to support them. Today the lodge is successful, they employ 150 people. Well mainly successful…

Last week, the Kenya weather was even more extremely wet than is normal. Many have died. The Mara River broke its banks and today the lodge is partially under water. So global warming and the depletion of water catchment forest, really can hurt hospitality as well as farms. We can’t escape the fact we all will be affected. I have always felt as responsible as my cousins for degrading the land around the Maasai Mara 2000-2014. Now I am actively supporting the re-wilding and tree replanting in Kenya, and sustainability in hospitality.

It taught me what happens, it’s my why.

Why write about this to UK publicans and operators?

We all know we will have to change behaviour and ways of living. In fact, almost all, 92% of the UK population are somewhat to very concerned about climate change. It is in all our interests and our future generations to make change. UK Government has rightly committed to Net Zero by 2050, and UK Hospitality to help our industry make it by 2040. Laws will come to push choices, and personally I think carbon taxes will too. You cannot lose by starting now.

What the leaders in sustainability in pubs have already worked out is this; If you reduce power, waste, purchases of single-use plastic, you increase recycling and re-use, your costs then reduce. Sustainability focus is very often great for profit. There is not a simple silver bullet. It takes a lot of small changes, some time to choose wisely, some profitable investment. The teams enjoy making a difference, seeing the progress and the stories they can tell the guests are great.

What next? If you survey or just talk to your team in a meeting in the pub today, you will learn many really care enough about climate change to do the reduction that is possible. If they share

their own why, what makes them each care, you will have a sustainability team. Many hands make light work. And then, it’s the leader’s job to encourage them and organise them to make a difference.

Knowing your teams Why is a route to Sustainability Profit. The answers for the team on how to do it are in these tools UKH Zero Carbon Forum free calculator NetZeroNow.


Article by Hamish Stoddart for The Morning Advertiser.

Hamish Stoddart on the reasons to turn to sustainability (morningadvertiser.co.uk)

Hamish Stoddart founded Peach Pubs and is a coach, strategic advisor

and non-exec to other smaller businesses.