Diageo shakes off the year and looks ahead to a decade of action

January 5, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

At the end of last year, emerging from what had been one holy grind for all, Diageo took a breath, shook it off and announced their ten-year sustainability action plan: Society 2030: Spirit of Progress.

Ending its year with a statement of hope, the company’s global plan encompasses three core areas: promoting positive drinking, championing inclusion and diversity and pioneering grain-to-glass sustainability. It includes twenty-five goals, all selected to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the next decade, declared by the UN: the ‘Decade of Action’. Ambitions include:

  • Reaching 1 billion people with messages of moderation through its brands
  • Achieving net zero carbon emissions across direct operations
  • Increasing representation of leaders from ethnically diverse backgrounds to 45% and of women to 50%
  • Using 30% less water in every drink it makes

Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, Diageo said: “As a global business, we are committed to playing our part to protect the future of our planet and to leading the way for others to follow. I am immensely proud of Diageo’s sustainability and responsibility achievements to date, and this new, ambitious action plan will challenge us even further to deliver more over the critical decade to 2030.

“By setting both gender and ethnicity goals for the business to achieve by 2030, I believe we can truly break down barriers and help shape a more diverse and successful long-term business and society.”

The plan’s commitment to sustainability is in full swing and incorporates plans for carbon neutrality, water preservation and sustainable farming practices.

Diageo’s Scottish distilleries of Oban and Royal Lochnagar both reached carbon neutrality at the end of 2020 and Diageo will aim to  achieve net zero in India by 2025.

Ewan Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer and President, Diageo Supply & Procurement, said: “It is vital that we act now if we want to maintain the wonderful world we all live in. I’m proud that we have already halved our own carbon footprint and that we are going to push ourselves further by becoming carbon neutral by 2030. It feels fitting that we are leading the way with Oban and Royal Lochnagar distilleries.”

Diageo Scottish distillery

By 2030 Diageo will ensure that every drink it produces will take 30% less water to make than it does today and will achieve a net positive water impact in key water stressed basins and communities. It will also deliver over 150 community water projects across the world, including providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

By then it will also ensure the use of 100% recycled content in plastic packaging and that 100% of Diageo’s packaging will be widely recyclable.

To achieve its goals in sustainability, Diageo also continues to support innovation with the ‘Sustainable Solutions global platform providing non-equity funding to start-up and technology companies to help Diageo continue to embed sustainability in its supply chain and brands.

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