Chivas Brothers, the Pernod Ricard business dedicated to Scotch whisky, plans to invest more than £60m in a bid to achieve “carbon neutral distillation” by the end of 2026.

The investment will be used to implement heat recovery technologies and install electric boilers across viable distilleries. The company says that its technologies, which consist in Mechanic Vapour Recompression (MVR) and Thermo Vapour Recompression (TVR), have achieved a 53% reduction in carbon emissions at its Glentauchers distillery.

In July, the company made the move to make their heat recovery technologies open-source for other actors in the industry.

As well as carbon neutrality across its distillation processes by 2026, Chivas Brothers has more modestly pledged to halve its scope three emissions by 2030. In its 2022 climate change report, Pernod Ricard said that scope 3 emissions represented the vast majority of its GHG emissions – 91% in 2021.

Carbon neutral claims, however, have come under the cosh in recent times, especially claims relating to “offsetting”, whose efficacy and long-term viability has been widely criticised. In May, the European Parliament even backed draft legislation to ban environmental claims that are based solely on carbon offsetting schemes.

Pernod Ricard has largely (and wisely) steered away from the language of “offsetting” in its public-facing press releases, however the company revealed that it purchased 997 credits (metric tonnes CO2e) between July 2020 and June 2021 through a Plan Vivo certified afforestation and deforestation prevention project.

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