Diageo records 7% water efficiency improvement in 2011

Diageo is on track to reach its water efficiency improvement target of 30% by 2015 after seeing progress of 7.2% in 2011, according to the drink manufacturer's latest Sustainability and Responsibility report.

The company also cut the amount of water wasted at water-stressed sites by 8.6% and the polluting power of wastewater was reduced by 9% compared to the previous financial year.

“The [improvements] are particularly encouraging because, since two of these three targets are absolute figures, they show continued progress even as production has increased”, the company said.

The company’s water efficiency strategy looks to ensure that products such as yeast and spent grain are eliminated from its wastewater and is instead used for positive purposes.

In water-stressed sites, mainly in Africa, the company aims to reduce water wasted by 50% by 2015, compared to a 2007 baseline.

“Our progress this year – an 8.6% reduction from the previous year, contributing to a 14.5% reduction against our 2007 baseline – is the result of a combination of investment in equipment and better practices” said the company.

However, Diageo added that it needs to accelerate the rate of improvement if it wants to meet its 2015 target.

The company said: “We are currently ahead of schedule, having made improvements of 19% since 2007, with 7.2% improvements in the past year – but we know that efficiencies will get progressively harder to find”.

“We are optimistic that intensifying our investment in water recovery and water re-use, and improved water conservation at sites in water-stressed areas, will accelerate our progress in 2013”, the company added.

While some of Diageo’s water savings were the result of major investments, most come from diligent improvements to equipment, processes and behaviour, it said.

Leigh Stringer

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