Spirits company Diageo, which owns brands such as Johnnie Walker, Don Julio, and Guiness, is bolstering its sustainability practices, expanding a circular packaging framework to introduce efficiencies across its Gordon’s gin, Captain Morgan rum, and Smirnoff vodka brands beginning in 2024.
The pilot will allow the company to scale circular packaging in about 18 markets over the next three years, an approach that jumps on the success of similar efforts in the company’s Indonesia ecoSPIRITS program, which launched in 2022 and is active in 38 bars.
Using a 4.5 liter eco tote, which functions like a keg, Diageo will be able to introduce a closed loop circular economy strategy to its distribution. Once totes are empty, they are collected and transported to offsite facilities to be cleaned and refilled with the same spirit before being reintroduced into the distribution cycle.
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The partnership with ecoSPIRITS allows the company to continue distributing in kegs — which it has done so with its Guinness brand since 1749 — while reaping the benefits of tech-powered packaging sustainability.
These benefits include reducing carbon emissions and waste as the totes can be reused up to 150 times and are expected to eliminate the use of up to 1,000 glass bottles over that lifespan. This approach is part of Diageo’s larger efforts to reduce 50% of carbon emissions across its supply chain by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
Ewan Andrew, president of global supply chain and procurement and chief sustainability officer at Diageo, said the efforts are a “triple win,” benefitting the planet, consumers, and Diageo by reducing both carbon and cost and introducing the ease of reusable spirits packaging to pubs and bars.
The company also introduced efficiencies into its supply chain, and across its enterprise, by overhauling its IT environment with cloud migration earlier this year. Through this effort, Diageo is introducing enterprise-wide agility and more intuitive decision-making capabilities with real-time tracking.
by Liz Dominguez
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