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Diageo launches 10-year sustainability action plan

Diageo launches 10-year sustainability action plan

Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness owner Diageo has set out 25 goals in its ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’ plan as part of its ‘Decade of Action’ as it aims to achieve sustainable development targets set by the United Nations.

Diageo’s efforts will be focussed on three core areas – positive drinking, championing inclusion and diversity, and pioneering grain-to-glass sustainability.

The beverage giant is also committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions across all direct operations by 2030.

What is Diageo promising?

  • Beverage multinational Diageo is playing its part for the planet by infusing its brands with purpose over the coming decade, with a three-pronged commitment to positive drinking, sustainability and inclusion.

  • By 2030, Diageo aims to reach 1 billion people with its positive drinking message, including promoting responsible attitudes to drink among 5 million drivers and 10 million underage drinkers.

  • Diageo will also bolster its inclusion and diversity credentials by ensuring 45% of its leadership team hail from an ethnic minority background by 2030, and ensure that 50% of all executives are women.

  • Building inclusivity at all levels, Diageo will also offer skills and training to 1.7 million people wishing to enter the hospitality trade.

  • Outlining the rationale behind these goals, Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes said: “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.”

  • Elsewhere, Diageo is committed to what it terms grain-to-glass sustainability, by demanding net-zero carbon emissions within a decade through an embrace of 100% renewable energy across all direct operations, as well as working with suppliers to limit indirect carbon emissions to 50% of their present level.

  • Oban and Lochnagar distilleries will be the first to exemplify this new green approach, with both expected to be carbon neutral before the year is out. Looking at the medium-term, Diageo’s Indian operations should achieve net-zero emissions by 2025.

  • Treating every drop as precious, the drinks maker will ensure it uses 30% less water in its production process before the decade is out and will support 150 community water projects to improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

  • Not finished yet, Diageo will also get behind 150,000 small farms to build biodiversity through less intensive agriculture.

  • Last but not least comes a guarantee that the business will only employ recycled plastic in its packaging, all of which will be widely recyclable, by 2030.

  • Hitting the ground running, Diageo has launched ’Sustainable Solutions’, a vehicle for allocating non-equity funding to startup and technology companies that can assist Diageo in these efforts.

  • Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer and president of Diageo supply and procurement, added: “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 carbon footprint and that we are going to push ourselves further by becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”

  • Setting out on the right foot, Diageo has turned to Red & Co, founded by Mira Kaddoura, to spearhead the creative platform and brand identity behind ’Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’.

  • Kaddoura has conceived a brand identity of rippling droplets symbolising the interconnected nature of businesses and the impacts they have on the fabric of societies in which they operate.

Why it matters

  • Outlining how these first drops can propagate out towards broader change, Menezes concluded: ”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.”

  • Diageo’s shifting priorities coincide with a pronounced shift in consumers themselves, with a recent Unilever report indicating that a third now prioritise brands perceived as supporting social and environmental good. In all, 21% of respondents said they would actively choose brands that proudly displayed their sustainability credentials.

  • A separate study commissioned by New York-based agency Zeno Group established that consumers were between four and six times more likely to purchase, trust and advocate for ’purpose-driven’ brands

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