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The commitment replaces the company’s previous 2015 target of a 30% improvement and is one of 20 sustainability and responsibility targets for 2020 announced today (16 December).

Diageo, responsible for brands such as Guinness, Smirnoff and Baileys, pledged to return 100% of waste water to the environment safely, compared with a 2015 target of 50%, reduce packaging by 15%, a 5% increase on its previous target, and source 80% of agricultural raw materials locally in Africa, compared with a 70% target by 2015. Its goal of zero waste to landfill remains the same.

Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes said: “Our targets are stretching and ambitious. We are determined to focus our resources and creativity to really make a difference – and we are committing to better understand and report on the efficacy of our programmes, to achieve the greatest positive impact.”

Other sustainability-related goals include:

> replenishing the amount of water used in final products in water stressed areas 
> equipping suppliers with tools to protect water resources in the most water stressed locations 
> reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from direct operations by 50%, and achieving a 30% reduction along the total supply chain 
> ensuring all new refrigeration equipment in trade are HFC-free, with a reduction in associated GHG emissions from 2015 
> increasing recycled content to 45% and making 100% of packaging recyclable 
> sustainably source all paper and board packaging to ensure zero net deforestation 
> developing sustainable agricultural supplies of key raw materials by establishing partnerships with farmers

New appointment

Diageo has appointed David Croft as its global sustainable development director, where he will be responsible for the firm’s overall sustainability strategy.

Currently the director of quality and technical at Waitrose, where he is responsible for the quality and sustainability of products and their supply chains, David will assume the role on 1 February, 2015.

–Liquid assets: A guide to sustainable alcohol–

Lois Vallely

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