Scotch whisky industry commits to net zero by 2040

The Scotch whisky industry has committed to cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2040 as part of plans to dramatically reduce the sector’s impact on the environment.

The Scotch whisky industry has committed to a significant reduction in its environmental footprint. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.
The Scotch whisky industry has committed to a significant reduction in its environmental footprint. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

Although the sector has made significant progress in reducing its environmental footprint over the past decade, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the industry “must do more” if it is to achieve net zero and its other environmental goals.

The 2040 net zero target under the SWA’s revised sustainability strategy is five years ahead of the Scottish Government’s own target for the goal.

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The strategy also sets out a commitment that by 2025, all new product packaging will be reusable, recyclable and compostable and that the industry will play an active role in the wider conservation and restoration of Scotland’s peatlands.

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SWA chief executive Karen Betts said protecting the environment was vital for the industry’s future.

“We depend on natural resources – water, cereals, yeast – to make Scotch whisky. Scotch has been produced for 500 years and we want to ensure that it is being produced for generations to come.”

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Ms Betts said the sustainability strategy is “both ambitious and achievable”, adding: “This is a great example of collaboration within our industry and with other organisations in our supply chain, the energy sector and in government.”

The SWA launched its first environment strategy in 2009, and said progress since then had included a 34 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and efficiency of water use had improved by 22 per cent. In addition, only 1 per cent of waste is now being sent to landfill, down 75 per cent since 2016

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