The brewing industry is an intensive industry when it comes to energy and resources, but one global drinks giant is making some major moves to clean up its operations. Diageo, the British owner of iconic brands including Guinness and Johnny Walker, is going green at brewing sites across Africa with an ambitious $218 million investment drive.
The beverages multinational business will overhaul the electricity mix at its African brewing sites across the continent and install solar power, biomass boilers, and new water recovery equipment. The plan will see Diageo switch to renewable energy at three breweries in Kenya and Uganda, adopting biomass boilers which will use sustainable fuel alternatives “such as wood chip, bamboo, and rice husks” to create steam power. It will also install new water recovery and solar power systems—to account for 20% of electricity demand—at several sites across brewery sites on the continent.
The large-scale environmental plans will also use biomass boilers to help cut Diageo’s carbon emissions by 42,000 tonnes a year while new water recovery equipment is projected to save over two billion cubic liters annually. Those are important benefits given African cities are among the most vulnerable to climate change globally. Now the question is whether more beverage companies will follow suit.