Leading sustainable Scotch tourism with four new Green Tourism awards

Four of our famous Scotch Whisky distilleries have been awarded the UK’s highest eco-tourism award in another milestone on the journey to a greener future.

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Lagavulin, Blair Athol, Oban and Clynelish distilleries have all received the prestigious gold certification from Green Tourism for their sustainable practices, both in the brand home visitor experiences and the distillery operations.

They join sister distilleries Glenkinchie and Royal Lochnagar on the list of Diageo Scotch Whisky distilleries to receive the top Green Tourism accreditation. Only eight distilleries in total in Scotland have this accreditation, with Diageo now holding six.

Zero waste to landfill, biodiversity enhancement, energy efficiency, local sourcing, community engagement and plastic reduction were among the achievements praised by the assessors across the whisky attractions.

Lagavulin

Oban Distillery has been key to helping raise the standards for sustainable practice across the drinks industry. The distillery switched to biofuels in 2018, reducing its carbon footprint by 98%, and last year introduced a new water reduction initiative, allowing the site to save approximately 80,000 litres of water a week.

The distillery is also working with the world’s leading Scotch Whisky, Johnnie Walker, to plant 189,000 trees in Ballygowan, across 85.5 hectares, to restore woodland and promote wildlife diversity in Argyll, as part of Johnnie Walker’s commitment to plant a million trees across Scotland by 2025.

On Islay, which is world-renowned for its smoky, peaty whiskies, Lagavulin has led the preservation of peatlands through a partnership with RSPB that is working to restore and conserve almost 700 acres of peat bog on the island.

Clynelish Distillery in Brora, which is currently undergoing a major transformation as part of our £185m investment in Scotch whisky tourism, was recognised for its efforts to encourage sustainable travel, with the installation of cycle racks and planned electric vehicle charging points.

Perthshire’s Blair Athol distillery was praised for its dedication to recycling across the business, including the recycling of its pot ale syrup for animal feed, which saves 850 tanker movements and 15,000 litres of water annually. Adding to its eco-friendly credentials, the distillery was also commended for using old pallets and discarded materials to create wildlife boxes to improve biodiversity for native birds and insects.

Our commitment to sustainability is part of our wider ten-year sustainability action plan to make a positive impact on the world by 2030, including a target of being net-zero from our operations by the end of the decade. We are also currently investing £185m in our Scotch whisky tourism experience which will see the opening of the state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker Princes Street whisky experience in Edinburgh this summer, investment into 12 of our Scotch brand homes and the revival of lost distilleries Port Ellen and Brora.

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