Scotch whisky commits to reaching net-zero emissions by 2040 - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Industrial  -  January 27, 2021

Scotch Whisky commits to reaching net-zero emissions by 2040

The Scotch Whisky industry announced on Jan. 25 that it launched a new sustainability strategy in an effort to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of Scotland’s national drink. The sector’s commitment to reaching net-zero emissions in its operations by 2040 is five years ahead of the Scottish government’s 2045 net-zero target and 10 years ahead of the UK government’s target. 

The industry’s revised strategy builds on progress made over the last decade, which has seen distillers work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than one third. It covers four main themes (tackling climate change, using water responsibly, moving to a circular economy, caring for the land) and commits the industry to work collaboratively with supply chain partners and government towards a collective goal of a sustainable dram from grain to glass.  

“The Scotch Whisky industry’s new sustainability strategy is both ambitious and achievable,” Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said in a statement. “A huge amount of work has gone into its development and is now going into its implementation.  This is a great example of collaboration within our industry and with other organizations in our supply chain, the energy sector and in government. All of this is close to distillers’ hearts because we know we must protect the natural environment. We depend on natural resources – water, cereals, yeast – to make Scotch Whisky. Scotch has been produced for 500 years and we want to ensure that it is being produced for generations to come.”

The Scotch Whisky industry’s first environmental strategy was launched in 2009, the first of its kind to cover an entire sector. Since then, the industry has made significant progress against its original targets, including a 34% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 28% of primary energy use is now from non-fossil fuel sources, up from 3% in 2008.


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