Our second round of Diageo Sustainable Solutions is open for applications

With the second round of Diageo Sustainable Solutions open for applications, we caught up with John Cant, Diageo Sustainable Solutions Lead, to hear more about how the programme and what he’s looking for in this round of applications.

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Can you tell us a bit more about Diageo Sustainable Solutions?  

In 2020 we launched Society 2030: The Spirit of Progress strategy and committed to being sustainable by design. To achieve this, we need to be innovative from grain through to glass and so we launched The Diageo Sustainable Solutions Programme alongside the strategy last year.  

The programme gives innovators the chance to submit ideas for a number of key ‘challenges’. The challenges are areas we’ve identified where we can be more sustainable, but we don’t have the innovation or answers ourselves on how we can beThrough Diageo Sustainable Solutions we look to work with innovators for a new technology, a new way of doing things or something that is a credible idea with potential. We’ll support the innovator through trialling and will hope to work with them once the product is fully developed and working. 

The exciting scheme aims to accelerate the development of big ideas and solutions that can create a step change in making supply chains more sustainable, and to share some of the most powerful insights developed by the programme across industry.  

Round 1 opened in November 2020, what projects are you progressing from it?  

We are really excited about the projects and innovations that applied in the first round of Diageo Sustainable Solutions. We’re finalising the details of the pilots and we’ll be shortly testing the feasibility and capability of the projects.

One is focused on making glass more sustainable. We’re shortly starting a trial with EXXERGY on how we can make glass thinner and lighter without losing its shape or strength. Lighter glass reduces the carbon emissions needed in both the production of glass and in the transport of it. We will be working closely with our supply chain partners Ardagh to test this exciting opportunity. Ardagh have engaged Dassault Systems to support with the assessment and commercialisation process of the new coating, and through using the virtual twin process of trialling we will collectively reduce the wastage of raw materials and energy and accelerate the overall commercialisation process. This is a really exciting project, because if it’s successful it has the potential to be transformational to the glass industry in helping them take an important step towards reaching net zero.  

What’s the focus for round 2?  

Glass is fundamental to the drinks industry and when used in the right way, it can be a really sustainable resource, so it’s a key area for us to really focus our sustainability efforts on. There’s more we can do on our glass-use so our four new challenges are focused on this. 

In round one we looked at making single use glass more sustainable, and now we’d like to focus on broadening that out to:  

  • Refilling and reusing bottles and other container types
  • Decorating our bottles and other containers more sustainably 
  • Designing packs for E-commerce 
  • Sustainable container design

The second round deadline has been extended to 21 January.

What’re your hopes for Diageo Sustainable Solutions by 2030?  

I’m really excited about the role Diageo Sustainable Solutions can play as we deliver against our stretching targets in Society 2030. We’d like to work in partnership across our whole value chain to tackle climate change, water stress and biodiversity loss. By focussing on specific priority opportunities, we can work with key innovators and supply chain partners to accelerate the commercialisation of ideas that can make a real difference for us.  

Diageo has a track record of great project delivery. Our approach of running ‘proof of concept’ pilots for these key innovations plays to our strengths and gives us the perfect platform to reach across our supply chains to partner with others to make a difference. Through the scaling of these exciting technologies, we will be able to fill specific ‘trajectory gaps’ for our key targets, helping to accelerate us towards achieving them. 

To find out more on the second round of challenges and to apply, visit Diageo.com/DSS/