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Diageo targets 100% renewables supply as consumption tumbles 10%

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Roseisle Stillhouse, one of Diageo's distilleries. Image: Diageo.

Global alcohol company Diageo intends to derive all of its power from renewable sources by 2030 after seeing its consumption fall 10% throughout its latest reporting year.

The drinks giant, which counts the likes of Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Gordon’s among its brands, made the pledge within its latest corporate social responsibility report, published earlier this week.

Diageo had previously established a serious of environmental targets, mainly with regards to its water consumption and carbon emissions, to meet before 2020 but this week confirmed it would also seek to increase its renewables consumption to 100% of demand by 2030.

This target would place Diageo on a par with other food and drink companies such as Coca-Cola and Heineken and the target of The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative, however it is not yet clear whether or not Diageo will join the campaign.

The company said within its report that it had seen an increased stakeholder focus on climate change which it intended to address through its “continuing success in reducing carbon emissions” which was “particularly the case when we look towards 2030 and beyond”.

Diageo’s latest report showed that it had reduced its energy consumption for the last two consecutive years. In its 2014 reporting year the company consumed 14,900TJ of energy in total, and this fell 7.59% to 13,768TJ in 2015.

Its total energy consumption fell a further 10% in the year ended 30 June 2016 to 12,392TJ, however the percentage of energy Diageo derived from renewables has fallen in tandem each year.

In 2014 the company derived almost a quarter (24.58%) of its energy from renewable sources, a percentage share which had fallen by more than one percentage-point to 23.38% in 2016.

Diageo attributed this fall in energy consumption to various energy efficiency measures the company had embarked upon, most notably to improve upon its wastewater treatment and discharge facilities.

It revealed it had spent around £20 million in the 12-month period on improvements to its wastewater handling facilities, as well as upgrades on its biogas recovery and effluent treatment plants.

Efficiency was also boosted by closer monitoring of and changes to production patterns in the company’s most energy intensive areas of the business, which it said were malt and grain whisky distillation.

Energy intensity vastly improved in the year period, falling from 3.5MJ per litre packaged to around 3MJ. 

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