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Scotch distillers unveil green agenda

Published:  03 June, 2009

The Scotch whisky industry has pledged to cut its fossil fuel use by 80% by 2050.

The reduction would mean an annual saving of over 750,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide - the equivalent of taking 235,000 cars off Scotland's roads.

As part of an agreement announced today, distillers have also promised to use lighter packaging, avoid sending packaging waste to landfill, to source future casks from sustainable oak forests, and to maintain the highest standards of water use and discharge management.

Targets have been set in two phases, 2020 and 2050, and the industry has volunteered to publish its achievements annually to show what progress has been made.

The Scotch Whisky Association, which brokered the deal, also announced that member companies had already agreed plans to invest over £100m in environmental initiatives.

The industry also pledged to work with its supply chain to reduce CO2 emissions.

SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: "Today's launch of our first industry-wide Environmental Strategy is a bold move by distillers.

"The good news is that we are making more whisky but already using less energy. Spirit production has increased by over 20% over the last decade, yet our energy efficiency has also improved by a similar amount - a great achievement.

"We are not newcomers to the environmental agenda but there is a recognition that we must do more across all our operations."