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Diageo in 2007 – ‘Water of Life’ programme launched

On 17 December 2017, Diageo turns 20 years old. To celebrate this milestone Diageo is looking back over 20 years of its history and highlighting memorable moments since it was formed back in December 1997. 2007 marked the launch of Diageo’s Water of Life programme that provides access to safe drinking water and sanitation to millions of people across Africa.

Feature

2007 marked the launch of Water of Life, Diageo’s flagship programme to provide access to safe drinking water and sanitation to millions of people across Africa. The programme has become instrumental in addressing Diageo’s environmental strategy goals, acknowledging its responsibilities in the area of sustainable development and bringing safe water and sanitation to the areas it operates in.

Since its launch, Water of Life has reached more than 10 million people in 18 countries through more than 220 projects – including boreholes, wells, rainwater harvesting, and domestic filtration devices. Through assessing the programme, Diageo has learnt that Water of Life projects are the main source of water supply for 79% of beneficiary households in Ghana – and have helped empower women by reducing the time spent sourcing water each day by 33%.

A women collecting water from a fountain with a child on her back.

Water stewardship is one of the most material aspects of Diageo’s environmental strategy. It is also fundamental to the future of the business. Diageo currently has 38 water stressed sites across nine countries. As water becomes increasingly scarce due to the growing middle class, climate change, and population growth – and as the business acquires more sites – this number is expected to increase.

Managing water is also core to achieving Diageo’s business ambition, maintaining its license to operate and ensuring the future growth of the business. This applies both to the way water is used in manufacturing, and also the perception of that use by communities around Diageo sites who may themselves have scarce water.