The whisky industry’s efforts to become greener have earned its trade body recognition from a UN-backed net-zero campaign.
According to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), it is Scotland’s first trade association, and the UK’s first food and drink trade body to be recognised as a Race to Zero campaign partner in the lead up to COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow in November.
Joint goal for net-zero no later than 2050
Race to Zero aims to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
Partners are committed to the same overarching goal – net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
SWA said its new status recognised its commitment to “robust” net-zero criteria in line with globally halving emissions by 2030.
Becoming a Race to Zero partner also recognises the whisky industry’s commitment, expressed through its sustainability strategy, to reaching net-zero in its operations by 2040 – five years ahead of the Scottish Government target and 10 years ahead of the UK Government goal.
The strategy also includes ambitious targets to drive down the sector’s environmental impact in key areas including water use, packaging and responsible land use.
Whisky-makers can join Race to Zero through the SWA by publicly pledging to achieve net-zero as soon as possible, while also producing a clear plan for how they will do so.
Industry making ‘significant’ investments to transition
SWA chief executive Karen Betts said: “This recognises the hard work and significant investments that Scotch Whisky producers are making to transition away from fossil fuel use and to drive up the use of renewable energy in order to reach net-zero.
“It also recognises how successful the industry is proving to be at working collaboratively towards net-zero and in improving our environmental impact in the round.
“Our Race to Zero partnership status is something to celebrate as COP26 approaches, where we are looking forward to showcasing the Scotch whisky industry’s environmental sustainability achievements and ambitions.”
UN high-level climate action champion Nigel Topping said: “We raise a toast to the Scotch Whisky Association as a new partner in the Race to Zero.
“It’s great to welcome this industry into the campaign, and I commend the actions they are taking now to meet their ambitious target of achieving net-zero by 2040.
“All of us across the global economy have a role to play in halving global emissions by 2030 – who will join us next?”