During the last year a key element of our CSR strategy was transferring resources and efforts from national schemes to local initiatives that will have a more positive impact on the communities in which we operate. A significant part of this is our approach to charitable activities, where we aim to support charities that have a local impact.
The Group takes its responsibilities as a corporate citizen seriously. This includes respecting and complying with local tax laws and paying the required levels of tax in the different countries where we operate. We claim the allowances and deductions that we are properly entitled to, for instance on the investment and employment that we bring to our communities. We benefit from having always been an Irish company, established in ROI’s low tax environment, with our major Irish cider production unit located in Clonmel and the Group headquartered in Dublin. The majority of the Group’s profits are earned in ROI and the UK, which both have competitive corporation tax rates compared with the European average. In ROI and the UK we remit substantial amounts of duty on alcohol production.
Dialogue with customers
Understanding the views of our stakeholders is an important part of our business. We seek feedback from our customers and our divisional managing directors are particularly targeted on the basis of their customer satisfaction results.
In Scotland our customer satisfaction is surveyed by an external surveyor. Overall satisfaction improved for our Tennent’s business unit, and our lead over our nearest competitor has increased. In the rest of the UK and ROI we decided to engage directly with our customers instead of undertaking external surveys and in Vermont we have a social media team that interacts directly with consumers on a daily basis.
ROI and Northern Ireland
We provide financial support through trade lending facilities to enable our customers to improve their on-trade premises so that they remain vibrant parts of the local community. In FY2014 we advanced a gross total of €5.6 million to our customers in ROI and Northern Ireland.
We support many cultural events across ROI, and the expansion of our portfolio in ROI to include wines and soft drinks has given us greater access to them than we previously enjoyed. As a result we now support a diverse range of sporting events from horse racing to the Dublin and Cork city marathons.
We are also supporters of live music events. Tennent’s Vital is Northern Ireland’s biggest music festival, and the annual sponsorship of this event by Tennent’s NI helps bring world-class musicians to Northern Ireland. In ROI, we continue to support the Forbidden Fruit Festival, the Body and Soul Festival and Bulmers Live at Leopardstown, which sees live music acts alongside evening racing events.
We also recently completed the construction of a craft beer brewery on the site of our cider mill in Clonmel. This new brewery facility will help us to capitalise on the growing craft beer market both in ROI and overseas, and it will also add additional investment and job security to the local community in Clonmel.
We are also using our brands to raise money for charities; for example in ROI we are contributing, via Tipperary Natural Mineral Water, special edition bottles of Kidz water towards the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) to promote their ‘standing up to bullying’ campaign. We provide point of sale materials and have committed to spend €50,000 on other promotional activity, including PR, radio advertising and support at ISPCC events.
In addition to larger scale initiatives we also help local causes whenever we can. This included the donation of half an acre of land from a portion of our Clonmel orchards to Powerstown School, which will be used as a playground.
For many years we have provided financial support through trade lending facilities to enable our customers to improve their on-trade premises so that they remain vibrant parts of the local community. In FY2014 we advanced a gross total of just under £13.3 million to our customers in Scotland.
In 2013 Tennent’s was appointed as the official beer for the veterans’ charity Help for Heroes, and we are now selling special edition packs of Tennent’s throughout the UK. All the profits from the sales of these products will go to the charity. In addition we are making the Tennent’s Training Academy in Glasgow available for ex-service men and women to be trained in new career skills.
We provide valuable support to those setting out on a career in the pub and hospitality industry. The Tennent’s Training Academy, which offers a wide range of training programmes with nationally recognised qualifications in all aspects of the hospitality industry, has now trained over 13,000 people. The Tennent’s Training Academy was also the first in Scotland to run Public Licence Holder refresher training courses and we are now running these courses all over Scotland. In addition, we continue to support the modern apprenticeship scheme, with three modern apprentices currently working at Wellpark, and in conjunction with some of our customers we helped to set up 100 placements in the hospitality sector.
Tennent’s is a founding partner of T in the Park, one of the top music festivals in Europe, which helps bring some of the world’s biggest music stars to Scotland. The festival is now in its 21st year, making it one of the longest running music festivals with a single sponsor in the UK. We also continue to support Scotland’s unsigned music talent, and this year 16 artists will be offered the chance to play on the T Break stage at T in the Park.
The Group continues to sponsor Celtic and Rangers football clubs, and we donated sponsorship rights to Celtic and Rangers U19 and Women’s teams to promote the clubs’ respective charity foundations. As part of our relationship with Celtic football club we are donating a minimum of £150 to the Celtic Charity Foundation for every competitive goal scored in the 2013/14 season, and as at the end of FY2014 this initiative has raised over £10,000.
In partnership with the Celtic Charity Foundation we provided funding for 40 children from Smithycroft school in Glasgow to go on a sailing trip organised by the Rona Trust, an organisation that helps improve the confidence of young people through sailing experiences.
As part of our strategy to play a bigger role in the community of Glasgow we have opened up our brewery to the public, with tours now regularly taking place from our revamped visitor centre.
As part of the Shepton Mallet Cider Mill agricultural investment fund, in FY2014 we agreed to support local cider apple growers to plant a total of 270 acres (90,000 trees) of new cider apple orchards. We are also actively involved in the ‘Keeping Somerset Orchards Alive’ project to restore and plant traditional orchards and promote traditional orchard craft and local cider making.
We have continued our support for the local community through numerous local sponsorships, including sponsorship through our Blackthorn cider brand of Bristol City and Bristol Rovers Football clubs and Bristol Rugby club. We also support shows in the South West including the Royal Bath and West Show and the Mid Somerset Show and donate to various local groups and charities.
Our Woodchuck and Magners cider brands have won medals in several prestigious competitions in the United States, a testament to the quality of our cider.
The events and festivals in which we are involved are carefully planned to ensure they adhere to all responsible drinking requirements. Our slogan “Revel Responsibly” is trademarked in the US and appears on posters and graphical elements we produce. This phrase is also used on related social media.
Our Vermont cider business is also active in the community. We donated $95,000 to nearly 100 different local groups and charities. Our biggest single donation, $50,000, was made to Survivorship NOW, a Vermont-based breast cancer survivor organisation, for whom we created a pink cider.
We are also keen to provide public access to orchards, and as part of that we are lead sponsor of, and helped organise a programme called “apples to iPods” in which consumers are invited to hunt for wooden apples hidden in the orchards which can be exchanged for an iPod.
Clean water for the developing world
Finally, in a charitable initiative that is working across our activities in the UK and Ireland, we are in discussions with One Water, a mineral water producer that funds clean drinking water boreholes in the developing world, to share our expertise in the production and sale of drinks products in order to help them become more efficient in their procurement and distribution operations and to increase the promotion and sales of their products. This relationship is in its early stages but we aim to enable One Water to increase the amount of money they can donate to the provision of safe drinking water in the developing world.