Diageo: Demonstrating our good neighbour philosophy

Business in the Community Ireland

Company Description:
Diageo is Ireland’s number one drinks business with an outstanding collection of beer, wine and spirit brands. Diageo Ireland directly employs more than 2,300 people in operations around Ireland including Dublin, Belfast, Bushmills, Dundalk, Kilkenny and Waterford. We also contribute significantly to approximately 15,000 other jobs and invest in excess of €500m annually on materials, supplies and wages. Exports of our world famous Guinness and Baileys brands exceed €750m per year.

Business Issue:
Diageo Ireland has been a foundation sponsor of the St. Patrick’s Festival for many years. In 2007 we sought to re-orientate our involvement to better reflect our CSR approach.

Solution Applied:
As a foundation sponsor of the St. Patrick’s Festival, Diageo Ireland receives 28 premium advertising slots on the parade route. Rather than promote our brands in 2007, we donated the space to MEAS (Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society) to promote its drinkaware.ie campaign. Recognising that many of our elderly neighbours don’t either view or participate in the parade as a result of the large crowds, Diageo Ireland organised ‘The Diageo Friends of the Elderly St. Patrick’s Event’, in consultation with Friends of the Elderly. On the day, transport was arranged to take 200 elderly people living in the Liberties area directly to the Guinness Storehouse. They were greeted by Dublin characters Molly Malone and Oscar Wilde, served a full Irish St Patrick’s Day breakfast and entertained by Irish dancers, musicians and singers. At midday, the parade was broadcast live on large screens.

Company Benefits:
Diageo Ireland’s reputation as a good neighbour with a genuine interest in, and commitment to, the social life of the Liberties area of Dublin was enhanced by the event. Chairman of Diageo Ireland, Brian Duffy said: “St. James’s Gate is an integral part of the city of Dublin, with Guinness being brewed here for almost 250 years and as an elder member of the city ourselves we felt it very appropriate that we invite 200 older members of our community to share in the day. Many of these individuals do not have family or friends close by so we wanted to make sure that they didn’t spend the day on their own and could enjoy the celebrations and the parade from the comfort of the Guinness Storehouse”. Our staff who volunteered for the event were extremely positive about the experience.

Stakeholder Benefits:

  • According to Niamh Mackin, Co-ordinator with Friends of the Elderly, “the members of the club had a fabulous day – the breakfast was gorgeous, the music was fabulous and everyone had a ball. The whole place was decorated beautifully and we were treated like royalty. It’s not often we get days out like this and we love it”.
  • Up to 650,000 thronged the streets of Dublin to watch the St. Patrick’s Festival parade, an increase of 150,000 on the previous year. The vast majority of these people would have seen the MEAS drinkaware.ie message on the 28 banner sites along the parade route donated by Diageo Ireland.

Taking a different approach within the parameters of a well established and successful event.

St. Patrick’s Festival committee were very supportive – don’t be afraid to think laterally and ask for support.

Departments Involved:
Corporate Relations

Solution Champion:
Jean Doyle, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, jean.doyle@diageo.com and Angela Smith, Corporate Social Responsibility Assistant, angela.smith@diageo.com