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Our progress so far

Our progress so far
Learn more about where we are on our Sustainability journey, since launching our first strategy in 2009.

The Scotch Whisky industry has always taken sustainability seriously, and was the first industry in Scotland to launch a sector-wide Environmental Strategy in 2009. It has always been extremely compliant with environmental legislation. We already work closely with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and support their One Planet Prosperity ambition.  

The Strategy was ambitious for the time, setting a number of targets that took the industry beyond legal compliance. But the world has moved on, and our Sustainability Strategy takes us further and faster.

This is what we've achieved so far

Reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions 

  • 39% of primary energy use comes from non-fossil fuel sources. Reaching our 2020 target of 20% four years earlier than we had planned, in 2016.  
  • Energy efficiency in distilleries improved by 13% against a 2020 target of 7.6%.
  • Many of our members have switched from higher to lower or zero carbon-emitting fuels and continue to make significant investments in energy efficiency and renewable technologies.  
  • Together, these achievements have helped us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 53% between 2008 and 2020.

Water management

  • Water efficiency has improved by 22% since 2012.  
  • Distillers have introduced detailed site water audits that are driving progress.  

Circular Economy

  • Our members have reduced general waste to landfill to just 1%.  
  • We continue to collaborate with waste management companies to bring landfill use down further.  
  • 94% of packaging is reusable or recyclable.  
  • The recycled content of our product packaging is 37%. Glass has the biggest impact on this target.  
  • We continue to explore how supplies of high-quality glass bottles can be maintained whilst increasing their recycled content.  
  • Our overall packaging weight has increased by 2.6% since 2012, reflecting that Scotch Whisky is increasingly a premium purchase. This is one of the key challenges to address and one we are now focused on.
The Scotch Whisky industry is an incredibly forward-thinking sector when it comes to sustainability, and is already among the most environmentally compliant sectors that we regulate.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)