Scotch – collaboration in a glass
08 Aug 2016
Without collaboration, the Scotch Whisky industry wouldn't be
the global success story it is today.
Working together lies at the heart of Scotch Whisky. Think about
it the next time you enjoy a glass of Blended Scotch - in that
glass there could be a marriage of around 50 different malt and
grain whiskies. I can't conceive a better way to illustrate the
benefits of sharing resources.
So I was delighted to be asked to speak on 'cross sectoral
collaboration' at the launch of the Innovation Academy in Glasgow.
It has been established in Scotland to give professionals and young
entrepreneurs access to a creative mix of courses to help them
succeed in a changing environment.
I explained to the audience in Glasgow's Citizen M hotel how
Scotch Whisky relies on collaboration and innovation, working
closely with its supply chain from farmers to packagers. Scotch has
been around for more than 500 years and as an industry it knows
better than most how to evolve through the centuries to remain the
leading international spirit drink.
The focus of my talk was the Scotch Whisky Industry
Environmental Strategy. Launched in 2009, this award-winning
initiative remains the only one of its type that covers an entire
sector. While it is managed by the Scotch Whisky Association, it
belongs to the industry and relies on collaboration between
This collaboration is clearly working. The use of non-fossil
fuels, for example, has grown to almost 20% from 3% in 2008 and
only 2% of waste now goes to landfill, down from 13%. Without the
buy-in of others, such as glass manufacturers who understand the
industry's need for lighter-weight, recycled materials, it wouldn't
be possible to deliver the strategy.
Working together has achieved such great results that we're in
the process of refreshing the strategy to make it even more
My presentation generated many questions from the audience who
were impressed by the amount of collaboration involved in Scotch
On the day it was also insightful to hear from Siobhan Jordan of
Interface on unusual partnerships, such as a cake manufacturer
adapting technology developed for the defence industry, and Paul
Macalinden, conductor and author, who had delegates working in
teams to build towers made of sugar cubes - all in the in the
interest of collaboration, of course.
Rosemary Gallagher, SWA head of communications