Some of our distilleries, breweries and other sites are surrounded by valuable ecosystems supporting a wide range of plant and animal species that can be vital to the livelihoods of local people.

glendullan distillery

It is important we take responsibility for the impact our work has on these ecosystems and the wider environment, particularly when it comes to our main ingredient, water. Where appropriate, we measure and report our impact, mitigate the risks and work towards a net positive environmental contribution.

Sensitive ecological sites

We have identified 35 operational sites, and other land we own, near or adjacent to areas designated as having biodiversity value by the United Nations or national conservation lists. These have a relatively small total area of approximately 25 km².

Several of our sites are also in, or close to, the habitats of species that are designated as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In all cases, we are managing these sites in accordance with our licence conditions and the expectations of local stakeholders.


The use of water in areas that are water-stressed has particular consequences for biodiversity. Our overall water strategy focuses on an integrated approach to corporate water stewardship, with a specific emphasis on water-stressed areas.

Sixteen of our production sites are associated with wetlands designated under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the RAMSAR Convention).

In each protected wetland we are monitoring the local issues specific to our sites and implementing technologies that improve water efficiency and the quality of wastewater. We are also exploring the potential for collaboration with other industries and stakeholders to encourage more effective water catchment management practices.

Air emissions

Distillation and brewing can generate emissions that impact on the environment.

We have made progress in eliminating ozone-depleting substances from our operations. However, some substances, including hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), are inherent components of equipment and small quantities are emitted through their use and maintenance.

We have set ourselves a target to ensure all our new refrigeration equipment in trade is free from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from 2015, with a reduction in associated greenhouse gas emissions.

A small number of our sites have nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) air emissions associated with the roasting and kilning of cereals, used to flavour some of our brands. These emissions are measured but are minimal to our overall total NOx/SOx levels, which remain low compared with background NOx and SOx data.

copper distilling in a distillery

Innovating with bioenergy in Scotch whisky

Roseisle is the first new major distillery to be built in Scotland for 30 years and is the first malt whisky distillery to generate significant renewable energy from its co-products.


Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs)

We recognise that public acceptance of genetic modification (GM) technology differs among countries, and that scientific knowledge and public opinion continue to evolve.

We believe that the application of scientific advances in this area must be guided by government agencies responsible for public health, consumer interests and the environment.

We will always adhere to regulatory requirements for raw materials and ingredients. Sourcing of these will inevitably vary around the world. We will also always adhere to any applicable labelling requirements relating to raw materials and ingredients.

In general, GMO raw materials are not used in the production our brands. However, this is influenced by market conditions, such as raw material availability, regulation and consumer preferences. In some markets, where GM is prevalent, raw materials from GMO sources may be used in the production process, where legally approved.

As a result of the brewing and distillation process, no Diageo product contains GMO material.

We put the consumer at the heart of everything we do. We are committed to ensuring our consumers have the best possible access to information from which to make informed choices about our products.

We will continue to monitor and respond to scientific and regulatory developments, as well as to consumer attitudes, and keep our policy under regular review.

More information

A full list of sites close to protected areas and threatened species (to the best of our knowledge) is included in our ESG Reporting Index, indicator GRI 304-01. Details of our air emissions can also be found there.