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Diageo takes major sustainability focus

Alcohol brand Diageo has set ambitious sustainability targets for 2020, looking to build leadership in its category.

According to an announcement by the company, it has set 20 new sustainability and responsibility targets, to be achieved by 2020, in three core areas: leadership in alcohol in society; building thriving communities; and reducing environmental impact.

Ivan Menezes, Diageo chief executive said: “Our targets are stretching and ambitious. We are determined to focus our resources and creativity to really make a difference – and we are committing to better understand and report on the efficacy of our programmes, to achieve the greatest positive impact. ”

In the area of leadership in the alcohol category, it is focusing its efforts on advocating responsible drinking through hundreds of programmes to address harmful drinking, said the company. These will be run across its top 20 countries. This also includes creating one million ambassadors for responsible drinking.

For its goal in building “thriving communities”, Diageo aims to further partnerships with local farmers and agricultural communities to develop more sustainable supply chains and raw material sourcing. It will also expand its programmes for safe drinking water and sanitation (Water for Life), skills development particularly in the retail hospitality sector (Learning for Life) and women’s empowerment (Plan W).

For reducing environmental impact, the company said that it produces more than 6.5 billion litres of its brands, from more than 130 manufacturing sites in over 30 countries.  It will aim to better manage water stewardship and carbon emissions across its whole supply chain.

Meanwhile it has appointed David Croft to the role of global sustainable development director. Assuming the role on 1 February 2015, Croft will be responsible for Diageo’s overall sustainability strategy. Croft is currently the Director of Quality and Technical at the UK retailer, Waitrose, where he is responsible for the quality and sustainability of Waitrose products and their supply chains.  Croft also heads the Waitrose Foundation and its multimillion pound development programme in Africa.


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