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05 June 2020

World Environment Day: Industry Continues to Take Steps on the Journey to Net Zero

World Environment Day: Industry Continues to Take Steps on the Journey to Net Zero
The Scotch Whisky Association has today released a report detailing a roadmap for the industry to reach net zero, in line with Scottish Government ambitions to achieve net zero by 2045.

World Environment Day (5th June) sees the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) unveil its Net Zero report, exploring practical ways for the Scotch Whisky industry to collectively move towards net zero emissions. The Net Zero report was created in line with SWA member companies’ own desire to minimise their contribution to climate change, and the Scottish Government’s ambitions to achieve a net zero target by 2045.

The report, commissioned in 2019 by the SWA, and carried out by sustainability consultancy Ricardo, examined 2018 data from over 120 Scotch Whisky sites across Scotland. Its launch follows the recent publication of the SWA’s latest report showing the industry’s progress on targets set out in the Scotch Whisky Environmental Strategy. The report showed that the industry now sources over a quarter of primary energy use from non-fossil fuel sources, that water efficiency has improved by 22% since the 2012 base year – more than double the 10% improvement target – and only 1% of waste is now being sent to landfill, down from 4% in 2016.

The Net Zero report sets out the pathway for how the Scotch Whisky industry can achieve net zero emissions. Recommendations include switching from fossil fuels to clean energy, with an emphasis on the adoption of hydrogen and cutting-edge technology. The report also highlights challenges faced by the industry, including a need for policy certainty around the implementation of hydrogen and other new technologies. It also outlines the need for appropriate incentives for businesses to commit to a greener approach.

The Scotch Whisky industry launched its Environmental Strategy in 2009, the first sector-wide strategy of its kind. It includes targets to help the industry focus resources on reducing its carbon footprint and improving efficiency across its supply chain. Since then the strategy has been revised twice to analyse new data and update industry targets, with a further review currently underway informed by the Net Zero report.

The Scotch Whisky Association’s Director of Industry, Dagmar Droogsma, said “The Scotch Whisky industry has long proven itself to be resourceful and willing to adapt behaviours and processes to help combat climate change. We recognise that the Net Zero report and its findings are just one of several steps on our industry’s journey: the next step is to act on these recommendations.

The Net Zero report and its findings are just one of several steps on our industry’s sustainability journey.

Dagmar Droogsma, Director of Industry

“As we look beyond the Covid-19 crisis, our industry remains determined to play its role in a green economic recovery, in partnership with Scottish and UK Governments. The report demonstrates that companies in the industry are ready to play their part in minimising our collective carbon footprint, and that fundamental changes are needed both throughout the Scotch Whisky production process and government policies to help Scotland meet the 2045 net zero target.

“Next year’s COP26 in Glasgow is an opportunity for the Scotch Whisky sector to showcase its ambition to tackle climate change, and to be a key player in the conversations around a sustainable future for Scotland and the UK.”

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Notes to editors

The full 2020 Net Zero report can be downloaded here.

The SWA’s latest Environmental Strategy progress report is available here.