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Diageo unveils ambitious Spirit of Progress 10-year plan

Diageo has unveiled details of an ambitious 10-year plan to improve sustainability and make its workforce more diverse.

The Society 2030: Spirit of Progress plan, announced on Monday, lays out 25 goals for the global drinks conglomerate in three key areas: promoting positive drinking; championing inclusion and diversity; and pioneering grain-to-glass sustainability.

Among the aims are to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its direct operations, use 30 per cent less water in every drink it makes, reach one billion people with messages about moderated drinking, and increase the representation of people from ethnically diverse backgrounds in leadership positions to 45 per cent.

It builds on previous progress on sustainability and diversity goals by Diageo, maker of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guiness, and aligns closely with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Ivan Menezes, CEO fo Diageo, said: "As a global business, we are commited to playing our part to protect the future of our planet and to leading the way for others to follow. I am immensely proud of Diageo's sustainability and responsibility achievements to date, and this new ambitious action plan will challenge us even further to deliver more over the critical decade to 2030."

Diageo aims to meet the first of its sustainability goals by the end of the year: to make its Scotch distilleries of Oban and Royal Lochnagar carbon neutral. This will be followed by making its operations in India carbon neutral by 2025. 

Its brand packaging is set for an overhaul, with goals to use 100 per cent recycled materials in its plastic packaging and to ensure all its packaging is widely recyclable by 2030. It is also aiming to deliver more than 150 community water and sanitation projects globally and support more than 150,000 smallholder farmers to improve biodiversity and land regeneration through modernised farming techniques.

Further actions detailed in the Spirit of Progress plan include educating more than 10 million people on the dangers of underage drinking through its global 'SMASHED' programme, and providing skills and training to more than 1.7 million people to promote success and inclusivity in the hospitality sector.

Ivan Menezes added: "By setting both gender and ethnicity goals for the business to achieve by 2030, I believe we can truly break down barriers and help shape a more diverse and successful long-term business and society."

The unveiling of the new plan comes alongside the launch of Diageo's Sustainabily Solutions platform, which will provide non-equity funding to start-up and technology companies to help the group make its supply chains and brands more sustainable.

Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer and president at Diageo Supply & Procurement, said: "It is vital that we act now if we want to maintain the wonderful worrld we all live in. I'm proud that we have already halved our own carbon footprint and that we are going to push ourselves further by becoming carbon neutral by 2030."

23 November 2020 - Bethany Whymark