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Good chats: In conversation with Ttobie from 4 Pines

November 24, 2021
December 1, 2020
To celebrate Bank Australia’s B Corp certification, we're speaking to a range of people from across the B Corp community about the power of good business. This month, we chat to Ttobie Arowobusoye, Sustainability and Social Impact Advisor at 4 Pines, one of Australia’s leading breweries (and B Corps!)

The 4 Pines idea was brewed up back in 2006. Jaron Mitchell and his Dad, Mitch, were having a post-surf chat down in Manly when they came up with the idea, which quickly evolved into a small brewpub in Manly, brewing and pouring exceptional fresh beer.

A whole lot has happened since 4 Pines first opened its doors, but their commitment to leaving the world better than they found it remains unchanged. For them, it’s all about treating the world right, so the fun we have today continues.

Along the way they’ve attracted a solid fan base of loyal drinkers, drawn by 4 Pines’ great range and their forward-thinking ways of brewing better beers, in an environmentally-friendly and socially responsible fashion.

In 2017, they received B Corp certification, making a commitment to continue to make great beers and use business as force for good.

But how can a brewery, renowned for using huge amounts of water and generating all sorts of waste, be an environmentally responsible business? We had a chat with Ttobie Arowobusoye, Sustainability and Social Impact Advisor at 4 Pines, to find out.

Bank Australia: Why is striving for sustainability important for 4 Pines?

Ttobie Arowobusoye: We started as a hospitality venue which meant we felt a responsibility towards the location we operated in and the people who visited our venue. It was only natural that when our founder, Jaron, heard about the B Corp movement on a trip to the US that we would jump on board to become one of only two B Corp breweries in Australia!      

So that's where it came from. It was just a progressive thing to do. Beer is mainly made from water, hops and barley, plus we use a lot of energy, so it's really important for us to make sure that the environment is resilient and sustainable.

How has the B Corp process been rolled across the company?

We were certified in 2017, but it was Kiera Murphy who got things going at 4 Pines. She’s a really passionate B Corp leader who’s now back home in the USA carrying on assisting B Corps along their impact journey.

We’ve done lots of things to make sure all of our equipment is energy efficient. We’ve got community funded solar panels on our Brookvale Truck Bar which to date has generated enough energy to drive an electric car around the world 7.5 times and all of our venues and breweries run on 100% renewable electricity – except for our boilers, which are still on natural gas. We also use less water to brew than the industry average with our water usage sitting at 3.65HL water per HL of packaged beer!

We just make sure that we really keep on top of monitoring and reporting all of our energy usage as there's always space to do better, and keeping an eye on things is the only way to know how we can improve.

It seems as though being sustainable and having a really light footprint were focuses for the 4 Pines gang even before you became a B Corp.

I think being a hospitality venue so close to the beach will do that to you! When you live near the beach, you’re generally really interested in the ocean and the natural world. Because you’re in such close proximity to these things, you understand how precious it all is. So looking after our natural environment is just intrinsically important.

Jaron was really interested in making sure that the ocean and the birthplace of 4 Pines was kept in pristine condition. Along with being a B Corp, we’re also a 1% for the Planet member. We give 1% of revenue from our Extra Refreshing Ale, Pacific Ale and Pale Ale to environmental related charities.

How does this make a difference for you in your day-to-day work, knowing that you’re working for a company that genuinely cares about the planet?

We have procurement policies in place so that everything we get is from ethical, sustainable companies, or B Corps, or social enterprises. Everyone who is involved in purchasing is trained on that. In terms of all things community from gender diversity, inclusion and belonging to philanthropic giving and volunteering, that’s also central to business as usual for us. And I think that gets forgotten about sometimes in the B Corp industry; that we're not just trying to be environmentally friendly. Sustainability has three pillars; the environment is just one of those aspects.

So for me, that's a really big part of what I'm trying to get across at 4 Pines. We are really good at doing environmental things but we also have a great story to tell about what we're doing for our community.

For example, we have community programs which allow our 4 Pines team to donate time and money to a charity of their choice. 4 Pines matches that donation amount dollar for dollar which can be such a big difference to the smaller charities that so many of our people support.

We are also involved with community groups located near our 4 Pines venues. We look to partner with groups that connect the community and welcome community groups to come in to have a chat with our bar staff about getting involved.

A lot of people still don’t really like brands getting political or too vocal about issues. What sort of feedback have you got from this?

4 Pines is very humble and doesn't really like to go on about the great things we do. A lot of our consumers actually don't know what we do beyond the B Corp certification. We're trying to change that because we understand that more people really do want to buy into doing good, and not just say they're doing good.

How important do you think businesses like 4 Pines are in creating a better world?

They’re integral – I think the purpose and impact of B Corps is the future. It just makes sense.

Read more about B Corp and using business as a force for good.

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