Diageo plans nature and climate innovation trials with African smallholder farms

Diageo Sustainable Solutions launched in November 2020 as part of a wider sustainability strategy aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The company, which owns brands like Smirnoff and Guinness, has committed £450,000 towards innovations to combat environmental degradation and improve sustainable practices for smallholder farmers in Africa.

Pilots will take place across East Africa and will focus on methods that improve water efficiency and quality, biodiversity and regenerative practices and improving soil quality to act as carbon sinks. Companies will relevant solutions have until 7 October to apply.

If successful, the pilots will be rolled out across Diageo’s smallholder farmer network across Cameroon, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania, Turkey, the Seychelles, South Africa and Uganda.

Diageo’s global sustainability director Kirstie McIntyre said: “Even under the 1.5C trajectory called for by the Paris Agreement, farmers in the southern hemisphere will need help to adapt to climate change.

“Our next Diageo Sustainable Solutions round will create action for innovators around the world to help save lives and livelihoods in the countries and communities that are most at risk.”

Diageo Sustainable Solutions was launched in November 2020 as part of a wider sustainability strategy aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It has already supported new partnerships with Dassault Systemes and Ardagh group to develop a coating that makes glass thinner to reduce emissions and resources.

In 2020, the brewing firm committed to achieving net-zero operational emissions within a decade and to halving its indirect (Scope 3) emissions within the same timeframe, as part of a new ten-year strategy.

The 2030 strategy is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and commits Diageo to deliver a ‘Decade of Action’ on environmental sustainability, inclusion and diversity and responsible drinking.

On carbon, the headline target is a commitment to achieve net-zero operational emissions through a mix of energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy procurement and generation.

Diageo believes the first geography in which it will reach net-zero operational emissions will be India. It has set a 2025 target for its Indian operations.

Also included in the strategy is a commitment to halve indirect (Scope 3) emissions. Diageo will support smallholder farmers with training programmes on low-emission methods and trial regenerative farming practices – some of which purport to help land sequester more carbon than farming work emits.

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