Diageo starts programme to remove cardboard gift boxes from premium Scotch portfolio

27 Apr 2022 | Press release

Phased removal of cardboard gift boxes will test consumer response, reduce waste and contribute to Diageo’s 10-year action plan.

27th April: Today, Diageo has announced the start of a programme to phase out the use of 183 million cardboard gift boxes from its premium Scotch portfolio around the world. Brands will include Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky, Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky, Buchanan’s Blended Scotch Whisky and Bell’s Original Blended Scotch Whisky.

Every year, nearly five million tonnes of cardboard and paper is packaging waste in the UK alone[1], and despite its ability to be recycled, increased demand has led to cardboard shortages.

Diageo is committed to becoming sustainable by design and has set the ambition to be zero-waste to landfill from its own operations and offices by 2030. Following the launch of the Johnnie Walker paper-based bottle, the world’s first 100% PET-free paper-based Pulp bottle which is due to retail in 2023, Diageo’s sustainable packaging strategy is developing packs for the future including:

  • Packaging based on biomimicry, designs that will be modelled on biological entities and processes, such as mycelium.
  • The use of carbon capture in the decorative design of bottles.

The phased removal of cardboard gift boxes across the premium Scotch portfolio will allow consumer response to be assessed in countries all over the world. If successful, the programme will be expanded to more Diageo brands in 2023.

Ewan Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer, Diageo, commented: “Waste caused by surplus packaging is placing an unnecessary burden on the planet. Paper and cardboard are highly sustainable forms of packaging but it is time to review what is actually needed to package a product, as opposed to packaging it that way for historical reasons. We believe that the liquid in our premium Scotch products is the gift. They do not always need cardboard gift boxes to enhance this.”

View information on Diageo’s ESG commitments in Society 2030: Spirit of Progress.


[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002246/UK_stats_on_waste_statistical_notice_July2021_accessible_FINAL.pdf