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Diageo Sustainability Report: CO2 Emissions Drop 9.4%

Alcoholic beverage firm Diageo reduced its carbon emissions by 9.4 percent over the course of the 12 months to June 30, 2012, according to its latest corporate sustainability report.

In financial year 2011, the company emitted 751,800 metric tons of CO2. This figure dropped to 681,500 in FY 2012.

The company has reduced its CO2 emissions by 22 percent since its 2007 baseline, putting it on track to meet its 50 percent carbon reduction target by 2015, the report says.

Techniques employed by the company to decrease carbon emissions include investment in on-site renewable energy generation. Alcohol production creates a number of byproducts which can be harnessed as a source of renewable energy. In September 2011, Diageo submitted plans for a £6 million ($9.5 million) bio-energy plant at a distillery site in Speyside, Scotland. The plant would burn the spent grain that remains after whisky distillation, which is also known as draff. Diageo estimates that the facility will save 6,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

It previously installed a similar plant at its Roseisle, Scotland distillery, and that plant now generates 50 percent of the energy needs for that site, the report says. The company has increased its renewable energy use from zero in 2007 to 572 TJ in 2012, the report says.

Diageo says it has also focused on reducing the emissions emanating from its distribution network. In the United States the company has invested in delivery trucks that run on compressed natural gas. Diageo is also a member of SmartWay, a public/private collaboration between the EPA and the freight transportation industry that aims to help freight shippers, carriers, and logistics companies improve fuel efficiency and save money.

Year-on-year, Diageo improved its global water efficiency by 7.2 percent between FY 2010 and FY 2011, from 6.9 to 6.4 liters of water per liter of product. The company has improved this metric by 19 percent since its 2007 baseline, putting it ahead of schedule to meet its target of a 30 percent improvement by 2015, the report says.

Diageo says that most improvements in its water efficiency come from “diligent improvements to equipment, processes and behavior” rather than from major investments. For example, Diageo improved the water efficiency at its Achimota brewery in Ghana by 29 percent through focusing on better water recovery from bottle washers and water recycling from pasteurizers, the report says. At the company’s Uganda brewery water efficiency increased by 20 percent in 2012 through improvements to packaging lines and the implementation of better water recovery systems.

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