Diageo launches open innovation call to improve water use across its supply chain

  • Diageo launches five water-focused innovation challenges on: water efficiency in operations, maximising wastewater streams, reducing water use in ingredients sourcing, water efficiency in agricultural operations and improving water use across the hospitality sector.
  • Challenges are part of Diageo Sustainable Solutions programme which funds innovative technologies to help the company reach its sustainability goals in its ESG action plan, Society 2030.
  • Applications open until 20th March 2024.

Wednesday 24th January 2024: Diageo today announces an open innovation call for five innovations intended to lessen and more effectively manage the water used across Diageo’s global supply chain.

The open innovation call is part of Diageo Sustainable Solutions which began in 2020 after Diageo launched its 10-year ESG action plan, Society 2030: Spirit of Progress. The purpose of the programme is to fill the innovation gap the company’s targets were set with, with the acknowledgement that new technologies and approaches will need to be uncovered for systemic change to reach its goals. This is the fourth round of challenges Diageo has issued and there are currently 14 pilots across the company from previous challenges on packaging, agriculture and carbon.

Diageo believes the water crisis is a climate crisis and responsible water management is central to its licence to operate. The innovation challenges address five different points across Diageo’s supply chain where the company would benefit from innovation and new technology to work towards its ESG goals. The five challenges will focus on:

  • Improving water efficiency in Diageo’s own operations and those of its manufacturing suppliers. Solutions that will bring step change improvements in water efficiency.
  • Maximising the value of Diageo’s waste streams. Solutions that can be applied to Diageo’s distillation and brewing operations to upcycle wastewater into additional products or services.
  • Minimizing the climate and water risks of the ingredients Diageo sources and uses. New and complementary blue-sky technology solutions to support Diageo’s growth ambition while preserving existing agricultural supply chains. The aim is to find additional sources of ingredients with reduced water usage and water quality effects.
  • Improving water efficiency in agricultural operations. Solutions that will help Diageo to reduce water impact and make the existing agricultural processes more efficient.
  • Improving water use across the hospitality sector. Creative solutions within a bar, restaurant or pub setting to reduce water usage wherever water is used to consume Diageo products – including shaking cocktails, serving drinks, glassware, ice to chill before filling.

Applicants from around the world are invited to apply to Diageo Sustainable Solutions. The technology can be used or trialled in other companies, and there is no exclusivity to working with Diageo.

Ewan Andrew, President of Global Supply and Procurement and Chief Sustainability Officer said: “Water is our most important resource at Diageo for our communities, our operations and our products. Diageo Sustainable Solutions gives us a unique opportunity to search far and wide externally to connect with fast moving innovators who can challenge our status quo and scale their technology.”

John Cant, Head of Diageo Sustainable Solutions said: “Our Diageo Sustainable Solutions programme gives us the unique opportunity to work closely with innovators and start ups in a collaborative way to test their technology within our supply chain. We will give successful innovators the platform to pilot, the investment to scale it if successful at pilot, and throughout the process we’ll support the innovators with our expertise and resources for success.”

Applications for the water challenges are now open until 20th March 2024. Once applications have been submitted, they will be reviewed by the internal Diageo Sustainable Solutions team. If successful, applicants will be invited to a Select Committee to present their innovation/technology.

About Diageo

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray, and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world.

The company is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEO). For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

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