Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Diageo achieves 2020 sustainability targets

Diageo, maker of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, has achieved its 2020 Sustainability and Responsibility Goals.

Originally set in 2008, and refreshed in 2015, the goals were among the most ambitious and stretching in the industry.

“As we close our 2020 targets, we are incredibly proud of the progress we have made and grateful to our employees and selected partners who have helped us deliver transformational progress,” said Chief Sustainability Officer, Ewan Andrew.

“Through our programmes, we have made a positive impact on millions of people, in communities all around the world. We have been agile and moved quickly to adapt to the global changes around us.

“We are excited about the decade of action ahead and will continue to lead the way, driven by the knowledge that our future success is intertwined with the success of the living planet around us.”

The 2020 targets were selected to align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and designed to cover Diageo’s three main focus areas: reducing environmental impact, building thriving communities and promoting positive drinking. Key highlights delivered include:

  • Cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from direct operations by 509,000 metric tonnes, delivering on its commitment to reduce absolute emissions by 50%
  • Reducing emissions by over a third (33.7%) across its total value chain, going beyond its original 30% target
  • In water stressed areas, replenished 100% of the water used in our final product
  • Ensured that over 99.5% of its packaging is recyclable and achieved 45% recycled content in its packaging
  • Achieved zero waste to landfill in all operational sites and offices
  • Supported more than 250,000 people through its projects focused on clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in 2020
  • Empowered 435,000 women to date through its community programmes
  • Championed diversity such that 39% of leadership positions are now held by women, going beyond its original target of 35%

Despite this significant progress, however, Diageo has not quite achieved all its ambitious goals. As reported in 2019, it has not met the full improvement it wanted in the quality of wastewater it discharges, with 90% of its operational sites meeting the stretching target (noting it remains within consent levels granted by local regulators).

However, Diageo did deliver a 46.3% improvement in water use efficiency against a target of 50%, only missing the goal due to delayed water recycling projects in Africa and lower packaged volumes in some markets both as a direct result of COVID-19 impacts.

It has also found reducing the overall weight of its packaging by 15% more challenging than expected, still delivering a strong 11% reduction with the starting point on lightweight glass making it a tough challenge.

Having delivered the goal of 80% of raw materials sourced locally in Africa 2 years early it slipped to 79% over the last quarter of the year, as a direct result of COVID-19 volume impacts.

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