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​Water stewardship

Water is our most important ingredient, but is also a precious shared resource which is coming under increasing pressure in many parts of the world.

man working at Guinness Factory

Water is essential to our production processes and used widely throughout our value chain. It is vital to ecosystems, local economies, communities in which we live and work, and especially to grow the crops we use. Managing our impact on water, and being good stewards of this resource, is our highest environmental priority.

The Diageo Water Blueprint defines our strategic approach to water stewardship. It is an integrated approach based on four core areas where we will increase our efforts – in the sourcing of raw materials, in our own operations, within the communities in which we operate and through local and global advocacy for best practice in water stewardship.

Our strategy has been expanded to encompass the company's broader global supply chain which will enable better understanding and management of our total impact on water, while focusing on water-stressed areas, particularly in emerging markets.

Our targets

We have set three targets to be achieved by 2020, against a 2007 baseline.

Reduce water use through a 50% improvement in water-use efficiency

We will continue to improve water-use efficiency in our operations through a combination of continuous improvement, operational efficiency projects and cultural change, aimed at conserving and reusing water wherever possible. We will prioritise sites located in water-stressed areas.

Return 100% of wastewater from our operations to the environment safely

Measures including sustained investment in effluent treatment, plant expansion and upgrades will help us make progress towards this target. We will focus our efforts on monitoring wastewater biochemical oxygen demand emitted directly into potentially sensitive water receptors, namely inland rivers, where wastewater pollution is less dispersed and where it may have greater environmental impacts on ecosystems or the availability of potable water.

Replenish the amount of water used in our final product in water-stressed areas

We recognise that our impact on water stretches beyond our own operations, and we are committed to replenishing water in water-stressed areas. This means that where we make our brands in water-stressed areas, we will replenish the equivalent amount of water used in our final products. We will do this either by putting it back into the local area, or into another water-stressed area, through projects such as reforestation, wetland recovery and improved farming techniques.

glass of water

Holistic approach to water helps communities in India

In India, where there has been a severe drought, we have combined water stewardship initiatives with programmes designed to improve communities’ access to clean water and sanitation.

READ THE FULL CASE STUDY

More information

Visit our Performance highlights page or download our Diageo Water Blueprint for more information on how we're doing against our water targets. You'll also find further details in our Annual Report and Sustainability & Responsibility Performance Addendum