As a responsible corporate citizen, Diageo Ireland, is deeply aware of the impact on the environment. 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.
A series of initiatives are in place to reduce environmental impact and use resources efficiently:
1. Offsetting Carbon Emissions: In February 2007, Diageo Ireland introduced a new initiative focused on offsetting carbon emissions from business air travel. Every time a brewery team member takes a business flight, carbon emissions are calculated and then ‘offset' by Diageo through investment in a range of carbon emission reduction schemes. These schemes include the funding of reforestation projects, the purchasing of energy efficient fuel stoves for families in developing countries and supporting sustainable energy projects across the world.
2. Green Energy Initiative: In March 2007, Diageo Ireland finalised a ‘green electricity' contract with Bord Gáis (Irish Gas Board), which supplies energy to all our breweries. All electricity purchased for Diageo Ireland breweries in Dublin, Dundalk, Kilkenny and Waterford will now be sourced and produced from wind farms and wind turbines. The contract is valued at €2.5million.
3. Willows Project in Kilkenny: St Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny was commended by Chambers Ireland President's Awards for being an industry leader in the implementation of best practice in Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility. It relates to the establishment of an effective bio filtration system through the "Smithwick's Willow Project".
Willow trees are fast growing, the liquid waste is used to fertilise the crop, during the growth cycle the willow crop assimilates CO2 from the atmosphere, thus reducing carbon levels. The willow is harvested to produce wood chip, which can be used as an alternative energy source in place of heating oil or coal. The process fertilises the crop, providing nutrients required for growth, and for yield enhancement. Last year 10,000 tonnes of brewing by-product from the Smithwick's brewery was recovered through the project. In 2007 we expect approximately 1,300 tonnes of wood chip to be harvested from the crop providing the energy potential to heat approximately 165 average sized homes for a year.
Biggest challenge is investment versus payback. Some of the big capex spend projects have a longer payback time. As the result the company looks at all new projects in a different light.
- 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, launched by the National Standards Authority of Ireland and Sustainable Energy ireland.
- Analysis reveals that in an eight-month period, our water use was reduced by 8.5%, our thermal energy use reduced by 7.4%.
- All new initiatives provide us with invaluable learning which we can build on to further address the environmental impact of our production activities and are of benefit to the Diageo group globally