Brazil's bottle redesign cuts carbon emissions at Diageo

24 January 2012

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24 January 2012 | Adam Leach

A new bottle design that enabled drinks giant Diageo to cut CO2 emissions by 1,500 tonnes for Smirnoff Ice could be adopted by its other brands.

Developed by the Brazilian branch of the company, the redesigned bottle helped cut emissions by making it stronger and reducing the amount of glass required. In all, the redesigned receptacle eliminated 2,500 metric tonnes of glass, equivalent to a reduction of 1,500 tonnes of CO2.

Asked whether the initiative will be spread across the company, head of environment at Diageo Michael Alexander, told SM: “It will be shared through the Smirnoff global team by saying ‘look what Brazil has done’. It will be a country-by-country decision, but obviously that has set a precedent and therefore will encourage others to go down the same route with their own priorities and brand redesign.”

Alexander, who helped develop the company’s Sustainable Packaging Guidelines published in December, said Diageo met with suppliers and held workshops to outline its commitment to sustainability and motivate those in its supply chain to follow suit. He said it is an area in which the company is looking to increase its efforts: “Although we’ve done some, we’re absolutely committed to working further with our suppliers and we will do more on it. 

"Suppliers are absolutely critical and some of it is going to be around talking to them about our own ideas on how to deliver it and the other aspect is how they can deliver on it. A lot of them are design specialists, so it may be that they come up with the new ideas. It’s a two-way process.”

By 2015, Diageo has committed to reducing the average unit weight of its product packaging by 10 per cent. While the carbon reduction achieved through the Smirnoff Ice initiative was an example of ‘lightweighting’ – reducing the weight of packaging – the company explains that it will look at the possibility of ‘heavyweighting’ if it means that more robust packaging can be used multiple times.

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