This statement describes Muntons commitment to sourcing barley that is sustainable and that has a low carbon footprint and how that can be achieved without increasing on farm input costs.

Muntons, established in 1921 is an independent manufacturer of malt and malted ingredients for the food and beverage industry. Although small in terms of malting, producing 195,000 tonnes of malt per year at plants in Stowmarket, Suffolk and Bridlington, East Yorkshire, when it comes to malted ingredients we are arguably the largest in the world producing around 50,000 tonnes per year in Stowmarket.

Muntons is passionate about environmental protection and is continually looking to be more sustainable having  used carbon footprinting to establish a common ground to evaluate a number of different sustainability initiatives. Since 1999 we have consistently outperformed climate change emissions targets set by government. In fact we have had an energy action plan in place for over 14 years so caring about our environment and taking steps to become more sustainable is not a new concept to us.

The subject of sustainability captures the desire of many people to care for the environment but to us that is only one part of what is now called the Triple Bottom Line (3BL). The 3BL concept has three areas that are impacted by sustainability: People, Profit and Planet.

We have coined the phrase ‘Practical Sustainability’ to describe our active lead in promoting sustainable farming. To us this means taking action now that protects supply chain businesses by addressing the most intensive carbon areas of the supply chain and looking for sensible solutions now rather than waiting for the perfect carbon calculator or perfect definition of sustainability to emerge which likely will never happen. Muntons designed the first carbon calculator dedicated to malting barley from farm through to malt production and the feedback is that through our approach we have demystified this complex area and translated sustainability into a message easily understood across the supply chain. The biggest impact on our total carbon footprint is the growing of our raw materials – barley & wheat. This accounts for a massive 60% of our footprint.

Through membership of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI) Muntons has helped develop and adopt a global definition of raw material sustainability. The Group’s Manufacturing and Sustainability Director chairs the Arable Working Group which has championed the use of the Farm Sustainability Assessment to benchmark existing sustainability standards and allow a future improvement plan for farmers to consider, which will enhance their margins without increasing supply chain cost. It has enabled the Muntons Group to engage with supply chain partners who source other crops from farms growing malting barley and thus reduce the demands on farmers to adopt multiple sustainability standards.

The FSA standard has also been used by SAI to benchmark existing farm standards and a number are already considered compliant with the FSA standard which has three levels: bronze (basic), silver and gold. The Red Tractor Scheme is rated as FSA Silver standard thus any farmer adhering to Red Tractor is considered by us and our major customers to be supplying sustainable malt. We have had our sustainability standards externally audited by SGS to enable us to say with pride that all our barley and malt is 100% sustainable according to the FSA standard by virtue of the Red Tractor Scheme.

An important development of collaboration within SAI is the establishment of farmer groups in a forum called Sustainable Futures. It is supported by many of our key customers and includes NFU and many individual farmers and merchants who are also associated with Muntons Malt Supply Chain Ltd.  Initiated in December 2014, group meetings along with farmer educational visits within the UK and The Netherlands have proved very successful in sharing information on best sustainable practice.

We have worked with a number of organisations from fertiliser manufacturers & compost suppliers to those involved in precision farming to look at various ways the carbon footprint of farming can be reduced and thus make it more sustainable. The manufacture and use of nitrogen fertiliser contributes the most to the cereal carbon footprint, but fertiliser manufacturers GrowHow/Yara have invested very significantly in abatement technology that has dramatically reduced the impact they have on the environment and a simple change to abated nitrogen fertiliser will have a very positive impact on farm – reducing that element of the footprint by around 40%.

Approximately 20% of the grain purchased at our Stowmarket site is sourced directly from the farm and it is very important to us to maintain good relationships with our growers. By working with them on a one to one basis we aim to achieve our goal of producing 100% sustainable malt. In Bridlington we have been involved with trials on farm using compost derived from green vegetation and both sites have hosted a number of supplier open days. Our relationship with our merchant suppliers is equally as important to us and we are working closely with a number of them to engage their growers – a key aim is to create sustainability-focussed grower groups to achieve this.

Our work so far has suggested that the average range on the carbon calculator is between 300-500kg (CO2e). It will be our intention to ask growers to register below 300 in order to qualify for a low carbon contract. The abatement technology for liquid fertiliser is not yet as advanced as solid fertiliser production so we will be asking liquid users to go as low as is possible for them – reducing the amount of inorganic fertiliser used by supplementing with green compost for example. For liquid fertilisers using solid ammonium nitrate components at least that part can be sourced as abated hence improvements are possible for all nitrogen based fertilisers.

To qualify as a sustainable grower you must be using a scheme equivalent to SAI FSA e.g. Red Tractor. In addition, we recommend that you look to introduce at least two of the following practices

  •     Use of abated nitrogen fertiliser
  •     Precision farming techniques that result in more efficient use of/reduction of inputs
  •     Use of Green compost to improve soil structure/reduce the inorganic fertiliser used
  •     Use of alternative fertilisers that comply with PAS100 (*No onions or other products known to taint grain are permitted *)
  •     Nitrogen fixing cover crops
  •     Adherence to Conservation Grade/LEAF protocols to improve biodiversity


We want our growers to be committed to being sustainable and to caring for the environment in which we live and we want our customers to see the value of products that are produced using more efficient & sustainable methods.

If you require more information, please contact Melissa Abbott:

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