Our Sustainability & Responsibility Strategy

Putting the principles of sustainability and responsibility into practice means accounting for our most material social and environmental impacts in every aspect of what we do - from sourcing raw materials, to running our manufacturing safely and efficiently, to influencing how our brands are sold and consumed.

Diageo's Performance Ambition is to create the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer products company in the world. Our distilleries, breweries and wineries are at the very heart of the communities in which we work, and we have a responsibility to create shared value – for our shareholders, our people who work so hard to make our business successful, and for the wider society that enables our business to flourish and grow. To fulfil our ambition we know that we must earn the trust and respect of everyone that comes into contact with our company. We must be transparent and authentic, demonstrating good citizenship every day, everywhere. We only earn trust and respect through our actions, and we work hard to ensure that Diageo delivers on its promises.

Changing expectations

We know the world's expectations of business are continuously progressing, and we adapt our business to ensure we continue to meet them. Consumers today – particularly millennials – have increasing expectations of the businesses behind the brands they love. It is not enough to provide a great product and brand experience: companies must make a contribution that goes beyond economic benefits, to encompass environmental and social benefits as well. Such expectations are being reflected in the developing regulatory environment, in which companies are expected to be increasingly transparent about their key social and environmental issues, and, through reporting, to demonstrate progress.

Key issues

For us, as a global leader in beverage alcohol, there are certain social and environmental activities that are particularly important to focus on given the nature of our business, where we operate, with whom we do business, and our global and local stakeholders. We have looked carefully at our activities and, after consulting with a wide group of stakeholders, focus on the most material issues to our business.

At the core of our approach is a commitment to create a positive role for alcohol in society, which is fundamental to Diageo's purpose of celebrating life, every day, everywhere, and a critical expectation our stakeholders have of our business. However, meeting stakeholder concerns also involves minimising our impact and creating a more positive role for our business and industry as a whole. This includes, for example, protecting the watersheds on which our operations and communities rely, and investing in community programmes that empower stakeholders, particularly suppliers, throughout our value network.

Beyond this, there are certain basic issues that any company should address, from social impacts such as health and safety, human rights, diversity and good governance, to environmental impacts such as carbon emissions, waste, packaging and sustainable agriculture. Moreover, every company should be committed to openness and transparency in its dealings with stakeholders, including clear and accurate reporting.

There are six main priorities that make up our Sustainability & Responsibility Strategy:

  • Alcohol in society - we want to contribute to the World Health Organization's goal of reducing alcohol-related harm by 10% by communicating about alcohol responsibly and tackling misuse through effective programmes and policies
  • Water and the environment - we want to protect the precious commodity of water through reducing, returning and, where appropriate, replenishing what we use while investing in, and advocating, water stewardship in our communities. We also want to be a business which does not negatively impact the environment we operate in - and where possible, improves it
  • Community empowerment - we want to empower the women and men in our value network, from the farmers who grow our crops to the bartenders who sell our brands
  • Our people - we want our employees to be engaged, aligned with our strategy and connected to our values, but above all we want to protect their safety and respect their human rights
  • Sustainable supply chains - we want our suppliers to be our partners in providing locally and sustainably sourced materials which have a positive impact on the communities and environment in which we operate.
  • Governance and ethics - we want to earn the trust and respect of our stakeholders as an ethical leader in society

We have targets in some of these areas, and report against progress in our Annual Report.

Our 2020 targets

With our current targets expiring in 2015, and in anticipation of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference and other external factors, we evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of our strategy in light of our track record of performance and the work we have done over the last few years in understanding the expectations and concerns of our stakeholders.

As a result, in December 2014, we launched ambitious targets for 2020 for our most material issues, which build on our achievements to date, and are aligned with the emerging UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In this section

  • Our value network
    Our reputation, and the sustainability of our business, depend on our ability to recognise and mitigate potential risks and create opportunities along the value network.
  • Stakeholder engagement
    By listening to all whom Diageo touches, we can ensure that ours is a business that understands stakeholders' expectations and meets them.
  • Materiality analysis
    Our strategy is based on our understanding of what issues are most important to people, or, what about our business is most 'material'.
  • Management and governance
    Sustainability is an essential part of our success - so our Sustainability & Responsibility Strategy is embedded at the highest level in our business.
  • Awards and rankings
    Being benchmarked against our peers and the wider business community is important for our understanding of how our approach to sustainability measures up to prevailing standards and attitudes.
  • Our 2020 Sustainability & Responsibility targets
    Our targets, which focus on leadership in alcohol in society, building thriving communities and reducing our environmental impact, are an essential part of how we will deliver our performance ambition.

Related media

Annual Report 2015 Download file
14 Aug 2015

Annual Report 2015