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27 September 2021

Scotch Whisky Industry Marks National Inclusion Week

Scotch Whisky Industry Marks National Inclusion Week
The Scotch Whisky industry marks a year since the launch of its Diversity & Inclusivity Charter on National Inclusion Week.

The Scotch Whisky industry has marked National Inclusion Week (27 September – 3 October) by looking back on a year of progress since the launch of its Diversity & Inclusivity Charter.

The Charter aims to improve equal opportunities across the sector and ensure the industry embraces diversity in all its forms across its global workforce.  It sets a series of minimum standards for all SWA member companies and sets a clear path for companies – large and small – to work together to ensure that the Charter commitments are fulfilled.

The Charter is a strong declaration that the Scotch Whisky industry is improving diversity and equality across the board, and bringing companies together to exchange experiences and to continue to progress towards achieving the Charter goals remains a key focus for the SWA. Since the launch in September 2020, the SWA has worked with member companies to improve awareness and facilitate change. A programme of workshops and webinars has been rolled out throughout the year, focusing on topics including mental health awareness in the workplace and supporting the LGBTQ+ community in Scotch Whisky.

A Focus Group was created in March 2021, comprising representatives from large and small companies, to support the delivery of an industry-wide workplan to boost equality, diversity and inclusion within the Scotch Whisky industry. A benchmarking exercise is currently underway, aimed at creating a set of recommendations for the industry to take forward to achieve the commitments laid out in the Charter.

The SWA has also launched a scholarship in collaboration with Heriot-Watt University, with the aim of improving access to Heriot-Watt’s globally renowned Brewing and Distilling degree course among demographics that are under-represented in the Scotch Whisky industry. This autumn has seen two female students starting their studies on the university’s undergraduate programme with the support of the scholarship.

There really is something in the Scotch Whisky industry – and indeed in Scotch Whisky itself – that’s for everyone.

- Karen Betts, SWA Chief Executive

Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association said: “The launch of our Diversity and Inclusivity Charter last year was an important milestone for the Scotch Whisky industry.  The SWA and our member companies are deeply committed to improving diversity and equality of opportunity across the industry, and the Charter is proving a great way of bringing companies together to drive progress and change.  We are the first to admit that we are on a journey, and that there’s still a way to go before we will meet all our commitments.  But we are proud of the progress we are making.  

“The initiative is also proving a great way to shine a spotlight on the diverse range of careers in the industry, from manufacturing – often in some of Scotland’s most beautiful places – to scientific analysis, international marketing and global legal protection. There really is something in the Scotch Whisky industry – and indeed in Scotch Whisky itself – that’s for everyone.”

The Scotch Whisky Diversity & Inclusivity Charter can be found here