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Unboxing premium scotch to reduce waste

Jul 07, 2023

Supply chain efficiency: Unboxing premium scotch to reduce waste

Annual Report 2023: Case study

A little over 150 years ago, Johnnie Walker had a packaging problem. Too many bottles were being broken in transit over choppy seas. The solution? The iconic ‘square’ bottle: packaging that could be stacked safely and efficiently. Today, we continue that tradition of finding new ways to solve problems.

Diageo remains as proud of its whiskies as ever, and no less careful with its packaging. But in the modern world, the task is different. Our packaging is already robust; now it must become sustainable too.

Packaging is synonymous with waste, and too many industries have adopted a ‘take-make-dispose’ model. At Diageo, we want to change this. We believe convenience should not come at the cost of our natural resources.

At the beginning of fiscal 23, we began a thorough review of our whiskies and came to the conclusion that not only could we change our packaging, but in some places, we could get rid of it altogether.

This is why we started our work to phase out cardboard gift boxes across a selection of products in our premium scotch portfolio. After all, the luxury of our products is in the liquid, not the packaging.

The next step was to bring a team together. With the sheer scale of the project, and the range of packaging across different markets, we gathered a group with global and cross-functional expertise. The taskforce worked to scope out the project, agree timelines, communicate to customers and make sure every market was aligned. To minimise disruption to our supply chain, the project was initially rolled out across selected markets, testing the consumer response and assessing if waste could really be reduced.

After a successful test, we were able to expand the project internationally. The first phase was delivered over fiscal 23, and we plan to roll it out to new markets in fiscal 24. The work is a continuation of Diageo’s ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’ ESG action plan to help create a more inclusive and sustainable world.

In fiscal 23, this new workstream has resulted in:

141 million

cardboard boxes eliminated from our supply chain

c.5,520 tonnes

reduction in carbon emissions

View Annual Report 2023

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