Guinness and Smirnoff owner pours £180m into greener operations in Africa

Diageo’s investment will deliver solar energy, biomass power and water recovery processes across 11 of its brewing sites

Big Zero Report 2022

The drinks company behind Guinness, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker whisky has made a commitment to invest £180 million in renewable energy and water recovery solutions at its breweries across Africa.

Diageo’s investment will deliver solar energy, biomass power and water recovery processes across 11 of its African brewing sites, with the new infrastructure expected to have a significant impact on the long term sustainability of its supply chain in seven countries.

The projects include switching to green power at three breweries in Kenya and Uganda, where new biomass boilers will replace heavy fuel oil using sustainable alternatives such as wood chip, bamboo and rice husks to create steam power, cutting carbon emissions by 42,000 tonnes a year.

The company’s investment in new water recovery, purification and reuse facilities across five sites, including Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, is expected to save more than two billion cubic litres of water a year and solar installations at a dozen breweries, starting with Kenya and Ghana, will produce up to 20% of each facility’s electricity demand.

Diageo Chief Executive Ivan Menezes said: “We believe this is one of the biggest single investments in addressing climate change issues across multiple sub-Saharan markets. It demonstrates the strength of our commitment to minimise our environmental impact and crucially take action. We have a responsibility as a local manufacturer and employer in Africa to grow our business sustainably – creating shared value – and this significant investment continues our work to pioneer sustainable solutions for our local supply chains.

“We’ve set ourselves ambitious environmental targets, aligned with the United Nations global SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals], and our efforts to deliver on these by 2020 continues at pace. Progress has included a 45% reduction in our carbon emissions and a 44% improvement in water efficiency over the past decade or so. We are also now looking to the future and how we extend beyond 2020 with this commitment.”

Latest Podcast