Cornwall Business School graduate secures Sustainability Coordinator role at Verdant Brewing Co

25 March 2024

Max Church
Type: Text
Category: Falmouth News, Our graduates

Sustainable Tourism Management BA(Hons) graduate Max Church recently began working as a Sustainability Coordinator for Cornwall-based business Verdant Brewing Co

After travelling and working in various hospitality and tourism roles, Max became interested in creating change within the industry, an outlook that led him to studying at Falmouth University’s Cornwall Business School. 

We spoke to Max about his new role at Verdant, what business sustainability means to him and how his studies at Falmouth helped prepare him for this latest chapter in his career. 

What was it that first attracted you to a career in business sustainability? 

I came to Falmouth University in my mid-twenties having already ventured into the world of work, mainly working in hospitality and tourism running hostels, bars and restaurants both in the UK and abroad. During those years, I knew something was missing in terms of job satisfaction and I'd often find myself struggling with the existential question of ‘does my work have any meaning? Am I giving back?’.  

Although the teams I was working in would provide a super high-quality service in some aspects of the business, the companies I would work for would often not implement any sustainable practices. These practices weren't just unsustainable ecologically (accounting for waste management, monitoring energy usage, environmental management) but also socially and financially (excessive burnout, pay being below the living wage, antisocial hours). Thinking of my career trajectory post-pandemic, I wanted to focus my attention on creating all the changes I wanted to see in the industry, study an emerging field and combine it with my passion for the tourism and hospitality industry.  

Talk to us about your role as Sustainability Coordinator at Verdant - what are some of your roles and responsibilities? 

As Verdant Brewing Co moves from a small business to a medium business enterprise, expanding the brewery and venturing into owning more venues, my main role is to help facilitate and implement changes to get the brewery to engage in more sustainable practices. A lot of what they do already operates in a super sustainable way, and they give back to the community they operate in really well. My job is to work closely with the Head of Sustainability and Quality Control and coordinate with every department (marketing, welfare, HR, beer manufacturing) and our supply chains to ensure we're creating a product and workplace that's beneficial to all the stakeholders (customers, investors, community) and the planet. There are a million moving parts and it's essentially consistently creatively problem solving. We're also aiming for B-Corp status within the next few years, so there's a lot to crack on with!  

What made you want to work for Verdant Brewing Co? 

Honestly? I really, really like their beer. I spent a lot of my uni days drinking pints of Lightbulb and Headband at the various pubs and bars around Cornwall, and when the opportunity arose during my studies to work at their flagship restaurant/taproom Seafood Bar, I just wanted to work somewhere where I could show off my tattoos, wear what I wanted and be around brew heads like myself. As I've gotten to know the business over the past 9 months, I've really fallen in love with the work ethos, kind people and all-round lovely vibe of working for them. Post graduation, after many meetings of figuring out where I could fit back of house with sustainability work, they carved out a role for me. I still split my time at work between the Seafood Bar, doing boots on the ground hospitality work as their Assistant Manager, and back of house work at the brewery working on sustainability, so I've really lucked out.  

Max Church
Max Church

Why do you think it’s important for small and medium sized businesses to adopt sustainable practices? 

I think that it's a slippery slope not applying good sustainable business practices at an early stage in a business's development. Sustainability plays such a crucial role in our lives in every aspect of a business and having an organisational culture that promotes sustainability has a trickledown effect of not only looking out for the planet but looking out for colleagues and genuinely harbouring a really positive force in the world. Sustainable practice promotes longevity, and when you don't rush into rapid expansion and put profit over people and planet, which oftentimes tourism and hospitality businesses do, you lose sight of what's really important, which is providing excellent service to your customers, and looking out for your team and your brand.  

How did studying Sustainable Tourism Management BA(Hons) at Falmouth helped to prepare you for a career in business sustainability?

Being able to have lecturers who are genuinely as geeky and as passionate as you are when it comes to industry and sustainability is a real bonus. Some of my favourite parts of the course were one-to-one coffees, brainstorming ideas for projects and having a laugh. I think that certain modules really changed my whole perspective on how a business should be put together and really molded my thinking about looking at businesses as not just hitting a bunch of financial targets but actually giving back to the planet and the people around them, not to mention my time at the Eden Project and how inspiring being around professionals at the height of the industry was. Tourism can be a really fickle industry and can be really damaging, but it doesn't have to be! I also found that it massively improved my problem-solving skills, working with different personalities and helped me find a more mature and professional voice to bring to future careers.  

What advice would you give to students looking to start a career in sustainable tourism and business sustainability? 

I know this is super corny, but it would be to believe in yourself and your knowledge of sustainability. Sustainability is the great new frontier in business and a lot of people haven't focused their degrees around sustainable practice. That makes you super special and what you bring to the table is fresh academic insight and bright eyed and bushy tailed enthusiasm that a lot of businesses really need to get the ball rolling with sustainability. Network loads, be pushy and build good relationships with the right people. Never turn up late, smile loads and occasionally bring donuts and coffee when you can. 

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