Diageo eyes sustainability targets

26 March, 2021 by Brydie Allen

In the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Diageo Managing Director Australia, Angus McPherson spoke about an ambitious and bold set of sustainability goals. 

In 2020, Diageo as a global company met a range of its goals in sustainability, spanning across a number of areas from water conservation to carbon emissions to recycling and waste.

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As the company moves into 2021 off the back of this, it becomes one year closer to the due date for an ambitious and bold set of sustainability goals, outlined in Diageo’s ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’ plan.

Angus McPherson, Managing Director for Diageo Australia, said the 25 goals were designed to make a positive impact on the world with a ‘Decade of Action’ that aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The global plan focuses action in three core areas: promoting positive drinking, championing inclusion and diversity, and pioneering ‘grain-toglass’ sustainability.

“Building on the legacy of our brand founders to create a positive impact in our business, with our communities and for society, by helping to create a more inclusive and sustainable world, is at the heart of Diageo,” McPherson said.

“It gives me immense pride to lead Diageo Australia’s efforts in support of this ambitious global action plan that will challenge us to achieve even more across all areas of sustainability over the critical decade to 2030.

“They are industry-leading goals that reflect the holistic way we measure and evaluate our responsibility and sustainability efforts, focusing on impact, not only within our own operations but across our supply chain. They also reflect the importance of working in partnership to create true scale for our many programmes and initiatives around the world.”

What sustainability looks like

Diageo’s sustainability goals in Australia focus on three key areas – water, carbon and the circular economy – and considerable activity has already been noted in each area.

Within Bundaberg Rum, several strides have been made around water conservation goals, including the achievement of returning 100 per cent of waste water to the environment, steam condensation turned into water for further use and an increase in cooling water cycling.

Carbon has also been an area where the Bundaberg site has met impressive goals, like using 100 per cent green steam sourced from its own sugar mill for distillation. Alongside the Huntingwood site in Sydney, a range of other measures have been put in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions both in the direct operations and the total supply chain.

Activities that foster a circular economy are pushing Diageo towards some huge goals. The company is aiming to have zero waste to landfill while increasing recycled content and making 100 per cent of its packaging recyclable or reusable.

Progress made includes the removal of 460 tonnes of cardboard each year from packaging at the Huntingwood site, the reuse of dunder (a by-product of rum production) as crop fertiliser and the phasing out of plastic straws and stirrers.

Championing change

The Society 2030 plan also includes goals about embracing inclusion and diversity. “Inclusion and diversity is core to our purpose to ‘celebrate life, every day, everywhere,’” McPherson said.

“It’s important to keep striving for greater inclusion and diversity across our business through our ambitious 2030 targets because when we harness the power of our individual differences, capabilities and experiences we create an amazing place for our people to work, contribute and achieve on a personal level as well as drive even greater business outcomes.”

Meanwhile – A new international release

While the Society 2030 plan continues on a worldwide level, the Australian market has had a new taste of Diageo’s international portfolio, with the latest release of a limited edition collection of Scotch whisky, Rare by Nature.

This week Diageo announced the 2020 Rare by Nature collection, an annual special release single malt Scotch whisky selection, to be available from March 29. The collection includes eight cask strength whiskies from around Scotland, curated by Master Blender Dr. Craig Wilson. The products range across unusual age points and techniques, including the first Rare by Nature release of a whisky finished in pot-still Caribbean rum casks.

This year’s collection includes Cardhu 11 Year Old (56 per cent ABV), Cragganmore 20 Year Old (55.8per cent ABV), Dalwhinnie 30 Year Old (51.9 per cent ABV), Lagavulin 12 Year Old (56.4 per cent ABV), Mortlach 21 Year Old (56.9 per cent ABV), Pittyvaich 30 Year Old (50.8 per cent ABV), Talisker 8 Year Old (57.9 per cent ABV) and The Singleton of Dufftown 17 Year Old (55.1 per cent ABV).

“I’ve created this year’s Special Releases Collection, from some of my favorite distilleries across Scotland, with whisky enthusiasts in mind,” said Dr. Wilson.

“For those who enjoy spicy flavours, my recommendation would be to try our Cardhu, and for those who favour rich, intense and smooth flavors my choice would be Mortlach 21 year old. If you are curious about discovering something very rare, the Pittyvaich – the single ghost distillery in our Special Releases Collection this year is an unforgettable dram.”

As in previous years, the 2020 collection comes with limited quantities and stockists, and RRP ranging from $159.99 right through to $1,100, which showcases the rarity of the diverse and unusual expressions.

Rare by Nature 2020