Drinks giant meets 2020 target to cut greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 50 per cent, but admits it fell short with water and packaging goals
Diageo has this week published a review of its sustainability performance over the past five years, confirming it met a goal to halve greenhouse gas emissions from its operations against 2007 levels, but narrowly missed targets relating to wastewater, water efficiency, and packaging.
The global drinks giant - which produces a host of leading brands including Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness - said it remained on track to meet long term emissions targets that have been set in line with the principles of the Science based targets initiative (SBTi).
A series of investments in energy efficiency measures and renewable energy capacity meant overall greenhouse gas emissions from the company's direct operations have fallen by 509,000 metric tonnes since 2007, according to the report, delivering on Diageo's commitment to reduce absolute emissions by 50 per cent.
Moreover, work with suppliers has resulted in a 33 per cent reduction in emissions across the company's value chain, exceeding a target to cut value chain emissions 30 per cent against 2007 levels by 2020.
Other highlights included work to replenish 100 per cent of the water used in Diageo's final products in water stressed areas, ensure over 99.5 per cent of packaging is recyclable, and achieve zero waste to landfill at all of the company's operational sites and offices.
The company is now set to soon announce a new set of targets in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the "critical decade" through to 2030.
Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer at Diageo, said the company was "incredibly proud of the progress we have made and grateful to our employees and selected partners who have helped us deliver transformational progress" over the past five years.
"Through our programmes, we have made a positive impact on millions of people, in communities all around the world," he said. "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."
However, the report acknowledged that Diageo had fallen short against a number of its targets for 2020.
The company confirmed that while it remained within consent levels granted by local authorities, it had not delivered the full improvement it wanted in the quality of wastewater it discharges, with 90 per cent of its operational sites meeting its "stretching targets".
Meanwhile, the company delivered a 46.3 per cent improvement in water use efficiency against a target of 50 per cent, narrowly missing the goal due to delayed water recycling projects in Africa and lower packaged volumes in some markets that resulted from the coronavirus crisis.
And the report acknowledges that Diageo found it "more challenging than expected" to meet a target to reduce the overall weight of its packaging by 15 per cent, having delivered an 11 per cent reduction.
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