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Diageo Releases Bold Sustainability Plan

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Diageo – maker of iconic alcoholic beverage brands like Guinness, Smirnoff, and Kentucky-made Bulleit Bourbon, just released a ten-year sustainability action plan. 

The company’s “Society 2030: Spirit of Progress” plan, outlined in a recent press release, features 25 “bold and ambitious” goals that it says have been outlined to make a positive difference in the world by 2030. One of those goals includes ensuring that Diageo uses 100 percent recycled content in its plastic packaging and that all packaging is widely recyclable. 

“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,” said Diageo Chief Executive Ivan Menezes. “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.”

London-based Diageo employs more than 2,600 people in the U.S. and 34 percent of all of the company’s sales come from its North American business, making the U.S. its largest market. Additionally, 50 percent of Diageo’s global operating profit stems from its business in the U.S. Its North American production facilities include a factory in Plainfield, Illinois, and the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Halethorpe, Maryland. The company’s net income for 2019 was $4.1 billion.

The company says that it plans to focus its efforts over the next ten years on three main areas that were curated to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These areas include “promoting positive drinking; championing inclusion and diversity; and pioneering grain-to-glass sustainability.”

Diageo says that the sustainability action plan will enable it to:

  • Reach 1 billion people with messages of moderation through its brands
  • Achieve Net Zero carbon emissions across direct operations
  • Increase representation of leaders from ethnically diverse backgrounds to 45 percent
  • Use 30 percent less water in every drink it makes

Part of Diageo’s “grain-to-glass” sustainability initiatives include sourcing 100 percent renewable energy to attain net-zero emissions company-wide and working with its suppliers to achieve a 50 percent reduction in indirect carbon emissions. 

Chief Sustainability Officer and President of Diageo Supply & Procurement Ewan Andrew 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.”

Additionally “Diageo will support over 150,000 smallholder farmers with farming techniques to regenerate the land and build biodiversity.” The industry giant also plans to deploy 150 community water projects across the world that will make clean water, hygiene, and sanitation more accessible.


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