Spirit giant Diageo has announced two regenerative agriculture programmes – in Mexico and Scotland – focusing on the supply chain for its tequila and Scotch whisky brands.
Diageo also expects enhanced biodiversity, improved water stewardship, carbon reduction, and better soil health management through this initiative.
The programmes will look at locally adapted practices, such as cover crops, reduced cultivations, and crop rotations, the Johnnie Walker whisky-maker added.
Ewan Andrew, president of global supply chain and procurement and chief sustainability officer, commented, “As we commit to continued investment in long-term business growth, we’re excited to expand our regenerative farming work more formally beyond our current Guinness programme in Ireland.”
Diageo’s tequila regenerative agriculture pilot will build the local knowledge pool of agave regenerative practices and investigate how the plant holds carbon over a six- to seven-year growth cycle.
The programme will span across Diageo-managed farms and its network of producers of the agave required for its tequila brands, including Don Julio, Casamigos, DeLeón and Astral.
The first phase of the Scotch programme will focus on approximately 20 farms in three barley- and wheat-sourcing regions in Scotland, for brands including Johnnie Walker, Talisker, and the Singleton.
Andrew added, “The Scotch whisky and tequila brands have such a strong connection to their local communities, and as we build increased resilience and productivity across our end-to-end supply chains, we are building broader partnerships to enhance the impact of regenerative farming practices at scale.”
Diageo has teamed up with agriculture and soil carbon experts, including Agricarbon and James Hutton Limited, to execute the programmes.
Agricarbon will help Diageo build the baselines of how much carbon the soil currently holds and track soil carbon changes over time, across both geographic contexts.
Elsewhere, James Hutton Limited will investigate how regenerative farming practices can improve soil structure, biological activity, and the water retention rate in the Scotch whisky programme.
Annie Leeson, CEO and co-founder of Agricarbon, commented, “Building our knowledge and understanding of the different raw materials across Diageo’s supply chain is key to reducing emissions and monitoring carbon changes in soils in different farming systems. Working with Diageo, we are pioneering large-scale assessments of soil carbon stocks.”