Diageo has halved its greenhouse gas emissions across its business as the company announces the completion of the majority of its 2020 Sustainability and Responsibility goals. The 2020 targets, which aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, were designed to cover Diageo’s three main focus areas: reducing environmental impact, building thriving communities and promoting positive drinking. These were originally set in 2008 and refreshed in 2015. In addition to halving its greenhouse gas emissions across its direct operations, Diageo improved its water efficiency by 46% and achieved zero waste to landfill at all production sites and offices. The maker of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness has also reduced emissions by over a third across its total value chain which is beyond its original 30% target. Other achievements include replenishing 100% of the water used in final products in water stressed areas and supporting more than 250,000 people through its projects focused on clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in 2020. Over 99.5% of Diageo’s packaging is now recyclable, while 45% of its packaging is made from recycled content. Last month, Diageo announced the creation of the ‘first-ever’ 100% plastic-free paper-based spirits bottle, which is set to debut with Johnnie Walker whisky in early 2021. With 435,000 women reportedly becoming empowered through its community programmes, Diageo claims that 39% of its leadership positions are now held by women. Despite its progress, Diageo has not quite achieved all its ambitious goals, such as not meeting the full improvement it wanted in the quality of wastewater it discharges. It has also found reducing the overall weight of its packaging by 15% more challenging than expected, but has delivered a 11% reduction. Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer of Diageo, said: “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. “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.” In the coming months, Diageo will be announcing a new set of targets to be achieved by 2030.
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