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Johnnie Walker announces new sustainability initiatives

Scotch producer Johnnie Walker has launched The Next Steps initiative, which puts the focus firmly on sustainable socialising.

The initiative involves a wide-ranging action plan to reduce its environmental footprint, restore natural landscapes and reinvent how whisky is made, distributed and enjoyed in every corner of the world.

Included in the programme is a series of environmental commitments which, by 2030, the company will ensure 100% of Johnnie Walker whisky production is net-zero carbon; 100% of Johnnie Walker distilleries harness renewable energy; all packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable; investment in projects to restore peatland and plant and protect trees in Scotland and a reinvention of the drinking experience to be more sustainable, and engagement with people around the world on the importance of ‘sustainable socialising’.

“Johnnie Walker is built on a legacy of making positive, progressive choices – our own ‘Keep Walking’ mantra is shaped by that thinking. When we look at the world around us it’s clear that we all have a role to play in protecting the planet and its resources. We can either see what’s happening and choose to do nothing or we can keep walking, taking every step we can to reduce our impact. We believe there is only one choice to make,” said Julie Bramham, Johnnie Walker global brand director.

Bramham continues: “We want everything we do to be more sustainable across every aspect of our brand and the new drinks experience is where we bring that all together. It’s a space where the set-up, the furniture, the operations, processes, and drinks will all be as sustainable as can be.

“But it will also be – simply and importantly – a brilliant bar experience, something we’ve all been missing in recent times. It’s the way things should be now and we’re proud to be pushing boundaries so that people can have a better choice. What if, by going out for the night, you could help make the world just a little bit better. This is one of the most exciting things we’ve ever done.”

The new programme will be spearheaded by the creation of a revolutionary new bar experience, which will showcase the future of ‘sustainable socialising’. The inventive bar experience will premiere later this year before rolling out globally across multiple countries.

Also, the brand will partner with the RSPB Scotland (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) to restore 88 hectares of heavily degraded peatland. This will allow plant life to regenerate, support wildlife and reduce carbon emissions. Despite covering only 3% of the world’s surface, peatlands store 30% of the world’s carbon and are vital to the health and wellbeing of the whole planet.

Other commitments made by the company includes to reduce its environmental impact by increasing the recycled content in all its packaging material; make its glass bottles up to 25% lighter; reduce its packaging will reduce its carbon footprint by 15%; use 20% less water by 2030; and work with customers and suppliers to continue to find and implement more sustainable alternatives for promotional materials and barware.

It is also seeking to uphold ‘green tourism’ with the goal of having all of our Scotch whisky visitor experiences Green Tourism Gold certified; work with and supporting our farmers and grain suppliers to help them implement regenerative farm practises and become verified against the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform’s widely-recognised Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA).

Finally, it is looking to support local initiatives to help preserve natural landscapes. In Chile, the brand has partnered with Tu Mejor Huella, to protect and restore 5,000 square meters of Torres del Paine National Park, one of Patagonia’s most iconic landscapes.

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