Diageo’s largest distillery has received world-first recognition for Water Stewardship

Feature

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) has awarded the International Water Stewardship Standard certification to our Cameronbridge distillery. 

Cameronbridge is the largest whisky and alcohol distillery in the world to have been awarded this. The prestigious certification sets the global benchmark for site-based water stewardship and ensures precious water resources are managed responsibly. We now have twelve distilleries recognised with the AWS standard reflecting our commitment to the environments in which we work.

The distillery, in Fife Scotland, contributes single grain whisky to some of our much-loved Scotch brands including Johnnie Walker, and produces Smirnoff, Gordon’s and Tanqueray. Our efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in our distilling business began at Cameronbridge in 2008 with the investment of £65m in a state-of-the art bio-energy and water treatment plant – using the co-products of distillation to power the distillery.

Cameronbridge is fed by boreholes along the River Leven, a 26km long river that flows through Fife, and the water is purified on site before use, and used cooling water is then released back into the river. Previously the communities around Fife depended on the River Leven to help run the mills and factories which impacted the river health with blockages to fish migration and physical river modifications. We’ve been a part of the Leven Programme since it began in 2018 to help restore the river in line with our commitment to being water stewards as we believe collaboration is at the heart of this. We’re helping to shape future projects such as natural flood management, wildlife corridors and wellbeing provisions for the community.

Ewan Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer, said: Water is a crucial ingredient to our products and we work hard to protect such a precious natural resource. Responsible water use is vital for both our business and for our communities and so I am delighted that our Cameronbridge Distillery has received this accreditation.”

The AWS Standard is the international standard for responsible water use and encompasses social, cultural and environmental criteria, including engagement with local communities. The Standard recognises continual improvement and commitment to ongoing action in response to the ever-changing nature of water and climate-related threats.

Adrian Sym, Chief Executive Officer of Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) said: “Diageo continues to show great leadership in water stewardship through the AWS certification of their Cameronbridge distillery. Water stewardship offers a collaborative and multi-stakeholder approach that involves not only managing a site’s direct water impacts, but also working with others in the catchment they rely on to address shared water risks and challenges. Businesses are reliant on the natural ecosystems that surround them; Diageo recognises this and continues to set an example for the beverage industry.”

Our commitment to water is outlined in Society 2030: Spirit of Progress which you can find out more about here. You can also read about our previous AWS certification on the River Spey for eleven of our distilleries here.