Diageo: Zero waste to landfill

Business in the Community Ireland

Company Description:
Diageo is one of Ireland’s leading drinks businesses with an outstanding collection of beer, wine and spirits brands. The company employs more than 2,200 people at facilities in Dublin, Belfast, Dundalk, Kilkenny, Cork, Sligo, Limerick and Waterford and contributes significantly to approximately 1515,000 other jobs and invests in excess of €500 million annually on wages, materials and services. Today, Diageo’s operations in Ireland are collectively a €1.7billion business bringing the iconic Irish brands, Guinness and Baileys to consumers in over 15150 countries worldwide.

Business Issue:
Founded in 1759, the St. James’s Gate Brewery in the Liberties area of Dublin produces 12 million kegs of Guinness annually. In recent years the 56-acre site has been transformed by an investment programme totaling €300million. The St. James’s Gate Brewery produces approximately 85 tonnes of general waste each month. Until 2003 most of this waste ended up in landfill, an environmentally unsound and unsustainable approach to waste management. In keeping with Diageo’s global environmental policy, Diageo Ireland, embarked on a radical plan to eliminate waste to landfill.

Solution Applied:

  • A cross-functional team, including representatives from Environment, Purchasing, Finance, and Engineering was formed to drive the project.
  • In partnership with Greyhound Recycling, a material recycling facility (MRF) was established on-site in 2003. The success of this facility has eliminated waste to landfill at the St. James’s Gate Brewery. Approximately 30% of the waste is now segregated and recycled, especially paper, cardboard, metal and wood. 40% is further segregated and composted, with the remaining 30% used as a fibre fuel substitute.
  • The project depended on effective two-way communication with staff at the St. James’s Gate Brewery and this was achieved through the existing Environmental Communications Plan, using intranet and email platforms in particular.
  • Other Diageo facilities in Ireland are gaining from this experience and are moving towards the successful model pioneered at the St. James’s Gate site.

Company Benefits:

  • Waste management costs have been reduced by approximately €50,000 per annum.
  • Company reputation as an environmentally responsible company has been significantly enhanced.
  • Staff are proud of the efforts they have made to make the project a success and team spirit at the St. James’s Gate site has benefited.

Stakeholder Benefits:

  • Approximately 1000 tonnes of waste per annum is diverted from landfill.
  • In conjunction with Greyhound Recycling Diageo has successfully implemented a strategy that is now viewed as a model for other large industrial sites.
  • Many staff members who participated in the success of the project have brought the experience to their domestic or community setting and made significant efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Departments Involved:
Corporate Relations

Solution Champion:
Beth Davies Ryan, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, beth.davies.ryan@diageo.com