Diageo Supply Chain Water-use Push Echoes WTW's ESG Findings

Diageo Launches Initiative to cut Water use in Supply Chain, Echoing Findings of new WTW Report Stressing Importance of ESG Delivery to Stakeholders

Diageo – the world’s leading premium drinks company – has launched an initiative to better manage water-use across its global supply chain. The announcement echoes findings in a newly published report from global advisory company WTW, showing that stakeholders increasingly are prioritising delivery of ESG principles.

Diageo owns 200 brands – including Smirnoff, Bailey’s, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Johnnie Walker – that are sold in 180 countries. The UK-based business employs an estimated 30,000 people worldwide.

The company has launched five water-focused innovations relating to:

  • Water efficiency in operations
  • Maximising wastewater streams
  • Reducing water use in ingredients sourcing
  • Water efficiency in agricultural operations
  • Improving water use across the hospitality sector

The initiative is part of the Diageo Sustainable Solutions programme, which funds technologies to help the company reach its sustainability goals in its ESG action plan, Society 2030.

Ewan Andrew, Diageo President of Global Supply and Procurement & Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “Water is our most important resource at Diageo for our communities, our operations and our products. 

“Diageo Sustainable Solutions gives us a unique opportunity to search far and wide externally to connect with fast moving innovators who can challenge our status quo and scale their technology.”

John Cant – Head of Diageo Sustainable Solutions – added that the company is “working closely with innovators and start-ups in a collaborative way to test their technology within our supply chain”. 

He continued: “We will give successful innovators the platform to pilot, the investment to scale it if successful at pilot, and throughout the process we’ll support the innovators with our expertise and resources for success.”

Diageo Water Initiative Echoes WTN ESG report

Diageo’s announcement resonates with findings in a newly published study from global advisory, broking and solutions company, WTW.

It says that, in 2023, a total of 76% of US-based S&P 500 companies – the world’s largest listed 500 organisations – included at least one ESG metric in executive incentive plans. This is up 69% on the previous year and 60% on the 2021 figure.

In Europe, meanwhile, the prevalence of ESG metrics increased from 90% to 93%,  year on year.

WTW’s Global Report on ESG Metrics in Incentive Plans goes on the explain that, in determining the connection to bonuses, companies rely on a mix of empirical ESG goals and qualitative assessments.

In recent months, ESG initiatives have been coming under close scrutiny in the US, following a number of lawsuits pertaining to claims of ‘reverse discrimination’ in diversity and inclusion initiatives that target suppliers owned by those from minority groups.


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