UK: Scotch whisky distillers to cut fossil fuel use

By | 4 June 2009

Scotch whisky companies have pledged to cut their use of fossil fuels by 80% by 2050, under an industry-wide environmental strategy.

The target amounts to an annual saving of more than 750,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide - the equivalent of taking 235,000 cars off Scotland's roads, said the report, issued late yesterday (3 June) by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

"Today's launch of our first industry-wide Environmental Strategy is a bold move by distillers," said Gavin Hewitt, SWA chief executive. 

"We believe it demonstrates our commitment to securing Scotch whisky's future, addressing issues of the environment and the economy."

Hewitt said that investment of more than GBP100m (US$164m) has been approved in environment-related improvements over the last 18 months.

"The good news is that we are making more whisky but already using less energy," he said. "Spirit production has increased by over 20% over the last decade, yet our energy efficiency has also improved by a similar amount - a great achievement. We are not newcomers to the environmental agenda but there is a recognition that we must do more across all our operations."

Of the industry-wide targets, the strategy also hopes to reduce the average weight of packaging used; eliminate sending waste from packaging operations to landfill sites and source future whisky casks only from sustainable oak forests.

Targets have been set in two phases, 2020 and 2050, and the industry will publish its achievements annually to show what progress has been made.

Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment in Scotland's government, said: "The future of Scotland's iconic whisky industry relies on our equally iconic and prestigious environment and the industry is ahead of the game with this pioneering strategy. If delivered fully, these commitments will be of real benefit to our environment."

Sectors: Spirits

Companies: SWA

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