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Distilleries rewarded for eco-responsibility

Distilleries are investing in the environment by reducing carbon emissions,  generating renewable energy and fostering biodiversity.

Diageo recently received the European Supply Chain Excellence Award for Environmental Improvement in recognition of its commitment to sustainability. The award highlights projects that have reduced carbon footprints, used resources more efficiently and minimised waste to the benefit of their supply chain.

Diageo has set the ambitious goal of reducing absolute carbon emissions emitted from production sites by 50% by 2015. Its carbon reduction strategy includes improving energy efficiency throughout its global supply chain operations, sourcing renewable or low-carbon electricity, generating renewable energy, and working to reduce levels of carbon emissions. In particular, significant investment in bioenergy technology at a number of distilleries in Scotland, underpins the size and strength of Diageo’s commitment to reaching this goal. 

Another producer, Tomatin Distillery, owned by the Takara Shuzo Corp and located 16 miles south of Inverness, is one of the first Scottish distilleries to install a state of the art, sustainable biomass boiler. This new renewable energy boiler displaces the distillery’s previous heavy-fuel oil usage and produces both heat and steam for the whisky making process.

The installation, part of an Energy Supply Contract, has immediately improved the distillery’s energy efficiency, cutting carbon emissions by 80% or over 4,000 tonnes CO2 each year, equivalent to taking 1,200 family cars off the road.

The ESCO was part-financed by the UK Green Investment Bank, through its fund manager Equitix, and Balcas. Balcas is the largest manufacturer of wood pellets in the UK with production sites in Northern Ireland and in Invergordon, Scotland, 35 miles north of the distillery. This plant alone produces 100,000 tonnes of sustainable biomass pellets annually.

In cutting its carbon emissions by 80%, Tomatin Distillery is the first distillery in Scotland to achieve the Scotch Whisky Association’s target for 2050 - 37 years ahead of schedule.

Pictured above is (L-R) Geoff Jackson, CEO, Equitix; Lord Smith of Kelvin, UK Green Investment Bank chairman; Robert Anderson CEO, Tomatin Distillery; Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP and Ernest Kidney, MD, Balcas.

Wildlife project

Honoring the company’s extensive, multi-year effort to improve the environment at its 92-acre site in northeast Florida, the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) presented Bacardi Bottling Corporation with its prestigious Wildlife at Work certification. The recognition was a key component of Celebrating Corporate Conservation, WHC’s 25th Annual Symposium held last month in Baltimore, Maryland. Sally Cannon, a processing technician and wildlife team leader for Bacardi Bottling Corporation, was presented the certification at the event.

The Wildlife at Work team, comprised of more than 50 volunteers from the Bacardi Bottling Corporation, worked for more than two years to beautify and foster biodiversity at the Company’s Jacksonville, Fla. location. The program to develop the wildlife project is part of the Bacardi group of companies overall corporate responsibility platform to protect native habitats, control invasive species, water conservation, and other preservation efforts.

“Bacardi Bottling Corporation is being recognized as an industry leader in corporate conservation,” said Margaret O’Gorman, WHC president. “It is a model for how we at the Wildlife Habitat Council connect corporations and communities to create habitat and increase biodiversity on corporate properties for the benefit of all. Through its certification programs of private lands owned by the corporate sector, WHC has set the standard for conservation programs on privately held land for more than 25 years.”

Beginning work in 2011, the significant steps to improve the location have included establishing pollinator gardens lush with wildflowers native to the region, and the replacement of invasive trees and shrubs with a wide variety of new seeds and plants specially chosen to support and enhance the local ecosystem. The program also included an ambitious project to convert five idle acres of exotic sod forming grass into a wildlife meadow with a combination of native warm seasonal grasses and wildflowers. This project was designed to create a sustainable landscape to decrease maintenance activities such as fertilizing and mowing. The benefits are enhanced campus biodiversity, improved habitat for a variety of wildlife including pollinators and shelter and food for birds and other wildlife.

3 December 2013 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor