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Johnnie Walker plans major sustainability drive

Blended Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker has partnered with bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana to create a ‘revolutionary’ bar experience as part of the brand’s biggest sustainability campaign to date.

Ryan Chetiyawardana will lead the new sustainable bar programme

The Next Steps initiative will aim to make Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker more sustainable by design.

“Johnnie Walker is built on a legacy of making positive, progressive choices – our own ‘Keep Walking’ mantra is shaped by that thinking,” said Julie Bramham, Johnnie Walker’s global brand director.

“When we look at the world around us, it’s clear that we all have a role to play in protecting the planet and its resources. We can either see what’s happening and choose to do nothing or we can keep walking, taking every step we can to reduce our impact. We believe there is only one choice to make.”

Johnnie Walker is seeking to ‘reinvent’ the drinking experience through the creation of a new bar experience. The project, which aims to ‘showcase the future of sustainable socialising’, will debut this year.

Bramham continued: “We want everything we do to be more sustainable across every aspect of our brand and the new drinks experience is where we bring that all together.

“It’s a space where the set-up, the furniture, the operations, processes, and drinks will all be as sustainable as can be. But it will also be – simply and importantly – a brilliant bar experience, something we’ve all been missing in recent times.

“It’s the way things should be now and we’re proud to be pushing boundaries so that people can have a better choice.

“What if, by going out for the night, you could help make the world just a little bit better? This is one of the most exciting things we’ve ever done.”

‘Big-scale change’

The bar programme will be created by Chetiyawardana, owner of Lyaness bar in London; Lauren Singer, CEO of Package Free; and global anti-waste community The World’s Most Rubbish.

Chetiyawardana said: “Sustainability needs commitment and bold steps – alongside the little, everyday ones – so I’m so proud to be working in partnership with Johnnie Walker as they seek to make proper inroads into addressing this evolving topic with a real and genuine ambition to make a difference.

“It’s been incredible to see them focused on revolutionising their approach to drink, events and experiences, and helping support big-scale change.”

By 2030, the Next Steps programme aims to ensure Johnnie Walker’s whisky production is 100% net-zero carbon and uses 100% renewable energy. Furthermore, all packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable.

The brand estimates that efforts to reduce its packaging will cut its carbon footprint by 15% – equivalent to 4,200 return flights from Edinburgh to Sydney.

The brand will also invest in projects to restore peatland and plant, and protect trees in Scotland.

Johnnie Walker has teamed up with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to restore 88ha of severely destroyed peatland.

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