Diageo struggles with ‘challenging’ packaging reduction

12 August 2020

Diageo found its goal to reduce packaging weight by 15% “more challenging than expected”, according to a report. 

The drinks giant revealed in its 2020 Sustainability and Responsibility Goals report it had reduced the weight of its packaging by 11%.

Diageo, the parent company of brands including Guinness and Smirnoff, said development of lightweight glass had been a “a tough challenge”.

However, Diageo said it had surpassed its target of using 45% recycled content in its packaging, and managed to make 99.5% of its packaging recyclable.

“It is not currently possible to replace the last 0.5% of non-recyclable components, but we will continue to explore alternatives for these residual materials in addition to ensuring all our packaging is widely recyclable,” it said. 

Last month, the drinks firm revealed it is working on developing a paper-based and 100% plastic free spirits bottle, which is set to be debuted with Johnnie Walker whisky in 2021. 

The firm also reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its direct operations by 50% and cut emissions across its total value chain by almost 34%, exceeding its 30% target.

Other achievements included sending zero waste to landfill in all operational sites and offices in the last three months.

Diageo contributed its success to a “holistic approach which draws on the strengths of the whole business”, early investment in infrastructure, partnerships with NGOs, and total alignment within the business. 

The company pledged to go further including through “encouraging regenerative agriculture and driving circular economy approaches”.  

Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer at Diageo, said: “As we close our 2020 targets, we are incredibly proud of the progress we have made and grateful to our employees and selected partners who have helped us deliver transformational progress. Through our programmes, we have made a positive impact on millions of people, in communities all around the world.  

“We have been agile and moved quickly to adapt to the global changes around us. We are excited about the decade of action ahead and will continue to lead the way, driven by the knowledge that our future success is intertwined with the success of the living planet around us.”

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