Diageo: Embedding our commitment to environmental sustainability

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:
Environmentally sustainable practices must inform the business philosophy and approach of the organisation across all its units. We are committed to constantly improving Diageo Ireland’s environmental performance, which we believe is good for business, good for our stakeholders and good for customers.

Solution Applied:
In February 2007, Diageo introduced an initiative to offset carbon emissions from business air travel. When a brewery team member takes a business flight, carbon emissions are calculated and then ‘offset’ through investment in carbon emission reduction schemes. These include funding reforestation projects, purchasing energy efficient fuel stoves for families in developing countries and supporting sustainable energy projects across the world. In March 2007, Diageo finalised a ‘green electricity’ contract with Bord Gáis. All electricity purchased for Diageo breweries in Dublin, Dundalk, Kilkenny and Waterford will now be sourced and produced from wind farms and wind turbines. Last year 10,000 tonnes of brewing by-product from the Smithwick’s brewery was recovered by introducing a bio-filtration system. In 2007 we expect c. 1,300 tonnes of wood chip to be harvested, providing the energy potential to heat 165 average sized homes for a year.

Company Benefits:
Offsetting carbon emissions ensures that carbon usage is factored as a cost into business decisions. Diageo Ireland gained accreditation for the new Irish energy management system IS 393, developed by Sustainable Energy Ireland. Analysis reveals that in an eight-month period, our water use was reduced by 8.5% and our thermal energy use reduced by 7.4%. All new initiatives provide us with invaluable learnings which we can build on to further address the environmental impact of our production activities and are of benefit to the Diageo group globally. The reputation of Diageo Ireland as an innovator in environmental practice is enhanced among the drinks sector in Ireland.

Stakeholder Benefits:
Consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental and social impacts of the choices they make. By implementing and communicating a range of environmental initiatives, consumers can be confident that Diageo Ireland is taking proactive steps to lessen our environmental impact and that environmental sustainability is a key part of our long term business plan.

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Departments Involved:
Environmental management, Quality & Systems management

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