Aiming for Sustainability in Tequila and Scotch Whisky Supply Chains
Diageo, the multinational beverage company, has announced two new regenerative agriculture programs focused on its tequila and Scotch whisky brands. These initiatives aim to reduce carbon emissions in the farming of barley and wheat for Scotch whisky and agave for tequila, while also delivering additional benefits to farmers.
Objectives and Benefits
Diageo's programs are designed to enhance biodiversity, improve water stewardship, reduce carbon emissions, and better manage soil health. The company plans to implement locally adapted farming practices, such as cover crops, reduced cultivations, and crop rotations.
Ewan Andrew, President of Global Supply Chain and Procurement and Chief Sustainability Officer at Diageo, stated, “As we commit to continued investment in long-term business growth, we’re excited to expand our regenerative farming work more formally beyond our current Guinness program in Ireland.”
Focus on Tequila and Scotch Whisky
The tequila regenerative agriculture pilot aims to build a local knowledge pool of agave regenerative practices and investigate how the plant holds carbon over a six- to seven-year growth cycle. The program will span across Diageo-managed farms and its network of agave producers for its tequila brands, including Don Julio, Casamigos, DeLeón, and Astral.
The first phase of the Scotch program will focus on approximately 20 farms in three barley- and wheat-sourcing regions in Scotland. The brands benefiting from this initiative include Johnnie Walker, Talisker, and Singleton.
“The Scotch whisky and tequila brands have such a strong connection to their local communities, and as we build increased resilience and productivity across our end-to-end supply chains, we are building broader partnerships to enhance the impact of regenerative farming practices at scale,” added Andrew.
Collaborative Efforts with Experts
Diageo has partnered with agriculture and soil carbon experts, including Agricarbon and James Hutton Limited, to execute these programs. Agricarbon will assist in building baselines for soil carbon levels and tracking changes over time. James Hutton Limited will focus on how regenerative farming practices can improve soil structure, biological activity, and water retention rates in the Scotch whisky program.
Annie Leeson, CEO and co-founder of Agricarbon, commented, “Building our knowledge and understanding of the different raw materials across Diageo’s supply chain is key to reducing emissions and monitoring carbon changes in soils in different farming systems. Working with Diageo, we are pioneering large-scale assessments of soil carbon stocks.”
Diageo's new regenerative agriculture programs represent a significant step forward in the company's sustainability efforts. By focusing on both tequila and Scotch whisky—two beverages deeply rooted in their respective local communities—the company not only aims to reduce its environmental footprint but also to create a more sustainable and resilient supply chain for the future