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Whisky industry blends sustainability message in a bottle for COP26

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) says the industry has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% since 2008.

A limited edition Scotch whisky, specially created for world leaders, delegates and visitors attending the COP26 climate summit, has been unveiled.

The blend was commissioned by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) to showcase the industry’s commitment to sustainability at the event, which opens in Glasgow at the end of this month.

Recycled materials were used to produce the 900 bottles, their stoppers, labels and boxes and the whisky was made with spirit from 26 distilleries across Scotland.

The efforts of the Scotch whisky industry, which is world-renowned, to reach net-zero is a great example of the change we need to see.”

COP26 spokesperson

Earlier this year the SWA launched a new sustainability strategy for the industry, committing it to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

It builds on progress already made across the sector over the past decade, including a 34% cut in the emission of greenhouse gasses, a 22% improvement in water efficiency and a 75% reduction in waste sent to landfill.

Blend illustrates sector working together

SWA chief executive, Karen Betts, said: “The Scotch whisky industry is renowned for its collaboration, and it’s been great to see distillers come together to create this unique whisky for COP26.

“The creation of our COP26 limited edition Scotch whisky only goes to illustrate how well our sector is working together to tackle the climate crisis and to reduce our environmental impact.

“Companies are deeply committed to this endeavour – which is critical to the industry’s future – and to sharing expertise and innovation as they do so.”

SWA chief executive, Karen Betts.

Ms Betts continued: “Based as we are across rural areas and in some of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes, we know we have a real responsibility to the future of the communities within which we work, and to the landscapes from which we draw the wholly natural ingredients that Scotch whisky is made from.

“That is why we are investing so much in environmental sustainability, and why we are determined to reach the point where the Scotch whisky industry and our supply chain have a net positive impact on the environment around us.”

A COP26 spokesperson said: “World leaders coming to Glasgow for COP26 will receive a warm UK welcome which will include the chance to sample a limited edition whisky blend produced sustainably in Scotland, especially for COP.

“The path towards a more sustainable future will only be achieved through collaboration across societies and sectors.

“The efforts of the Scotch whisky industry, which is world-renowned, to reach net-zero is a great example of the change we need to see.”

The specially created COP26 whisky.

Bottles for the COP26 whisky were made from 97% recycled glass, with fully recyclable stoppers created from natural cork and recycled wood and cork particles.

The label paper contains 55% post-consumer recycled fibres, including leftover barley from whisky production and the cartons were made from 100% recycled fibres.

The SWA was recently confirmed as an official Race to Zero partner by the United Nations COP26 Climate Champions team, a global campaign which commits non-government sectors to reducing the impact of climate change.

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