Johnnie Walker Makes Forest Protection, Eco Packaging & Renewable Energy Commitments With New 2030 Plan

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Popular Scotch whisky maker Johnnie Walker recently unveiled its ‘Next Steps Initiative’, a series of sustainability commitments that will see the company attempt to reduce its environmental footprint through various packaging solutions, help restore natural landscapes and raise awareness about ‘sustainable socialising’.

The Diageo-owned company new initiative lists several steps on how to become more eco-responsible from ‘grain to glass’ by 2030. These include making its whiskey production net-zero, running all its distilleries on renewable energy and switching to greener packaging solutions.

For its latter, the brand has committed to use at least 60% of recycled glass for it main bottles, which it says translates to 13,000 fewer tonnes of carbon annually. In addition, the company will ensure that 100% of its plastic packaging is made out of recycled materials, produce glass bottles that are 25% lighter and shift all its packaging material (including secondary ones) to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2030.

According to the company, these efforts will reduce its carbon footprint by 15% which is equivalent to taking 4,200 return flights from Edinburgh to Sydney. The company has set a water reduction target of 20% within the same timeframe.

Furthermore, through its partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland, Johnnie Walker will help restore around 88 hectares of heavily degraded peatland, a type of wetlands known to store 30% of the world’s carbon. In Chile, the brand has joined forces with the Tu Mejor Huella cause to protect 5,000 square meters of Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.

In a press release seen by Green Queen, global brand director of Johnnie Walker Julie Bramham said that the brand’s foundation consists of making “positive, progressive choices”. “Our own ‘Keep Walking’ mantra is shaped by that thinking. When we look at the world around us it’s clear that we all have a role to play in protecting the planet and its resources. We can either see what’s happening and choose to do nothing or we can keep walking, taking every step we can to reduce our impact. We believe there is only one choice to make.”

For consumers, the whisky maker plans to raise awareness on the concept of ‘sustainable socializing’ by creating a new bar experience through partnerships with award-winning drinks pioneer Ryan Chetiyawardana (of Mr Lyan Studio fame); zero-waste activist Lauren Singer; and The World’s Most Rubbish, a global community that works to end the use of single-use items.

Ryan Chetiyawardana(left) and Lauren Singer(right). Source: Johnnie Walker

When we look at the world around us it’s clear that we all have a role to play in protecting the planet and its resources. We can either see what’s happening and choose to do nothing or we can keep walking, taking every step we can to reduce our impact

Julie Bramham, global brand director of Johnnie Walker

Bramham added that the team wants all aspects of the brand to be sustainable, with the new drinks experience bringing all of it together. “It’s a space where the set-up, the furniture, the operations, processes, and drinks will all be as sustainable as can be. But it will also be – simply and importantly – a brilliant bar experience, something we’ve all been missing in recent times. It’s the way things should be now and we’re proud to be pushing boundaries so that people can have a better choice. What if, by going out for the night, you could help make the world just a little bit better. This is one of the most exciting things we’ve ever done.” 

Chetiyawardana said: “Sustainability needs commitment and bold steps – alongside the little, everyday ones – so I’m so proud to be working in partnership with Johnnie Walker as they seek to make proper inroads into addressing this evolving topic with a real and genuine ambition to make a difference. It’s been incredible to see them focussed on revolutionising their approach to drink, events and experiences, and helping support big scale change.” 

None of us can change things entirely by ourselves but the collective effort of millions of people pushing in the same direction can make a real, lasting difference

Julie Bramham, global brand director of Johnnie Walker

The brand will also work on having all its products Green Tourism Gold certified, will promote and support farmers and grain suppliers in regenerative farm practices and will look to be verified by the widely-recognized Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA).

Source: Johnnie Walker

“Over the next few years, the choices we make and the actions we take will make a tangible difference to the environment. None of us can change things entirely by ourselves but the collective effort of millions of people pushing in the same direction can make a real, lasting difference,” concluded Bramham. 

Johnnie Walker has even joined fashionable tech accessories firm CASETiFY to create reusable cloth masks with a PM2.5 activated carbon filter that will initially be given to over 100 restaurants and bars in Hong Kong.

In the past, the brand with its parent company and venture management firm Pilot Lite established a new alternative packaging firm called Pulpex Limited to unveil a plastic-free bottle which is 100% recyclable and created out of sustainably sourced wood pulp.


Lead image courtesy of Johnnie Walker.

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