Nc’nean is first net zero whisky distillery in UKBy Melita Kiely
Independent Scotch maker Nc’nean has become the first whisky distillery in the UK to achieve net zero emissions.
Nc’nean’s 2020 carbon footprint is the first to be verified by Environmental Strategies as net zero in the UK. This means the emissions from Nc’nean’s production were less than the amount of emissions removed from the atmosphere.
The Scotch whisky industry’s net zero target is set for 2040, meaning Nc’nean has reached net zero status 20 years ahead of the wider category’s goal.
Annabel Thomas, Nc’nean founder, said: “This feels like our greatest achievement so far. From the moment we started out on this adventure, there have been plenty of people who told us that using renewable energy would be too hard and that organic barley would be impossible to work with.
“Many even said that using a 100% recycled glass bottle just wasn’t the done thing in premium spirits.
“In a year when Scotland is hosting COP26 [United Nations Climate Change Conference] and sustainability is such a hot topic, it is my hope that our work will inspire others in our industry.
“We want more companies to look at their mode of operating and make improvements where they can, as we will also be continuing to do across our business.”
Furthermore, Nc’nean uses ‘extra-flint’, super-clear glass for its spirits packaging. Nc’nean whisky is bottled in 100% recycled clear glass, which reduces each bottle’s carbon footprint by 40% and reuses raw materials in line with the circular economy.
The distillery is also certified organic, and its whisky is made from organic Scottish barley.
Plus, Nc’nean is designed to use 80% less water than a traditional distillery. Its water is constantly recycled via a natural cooling pond, so the distillery can use the same water repeatedly without needing energy to cool it down, or chemical additives to clean it.
As part of its sustainability commitment, Nc’nean recycles or reuses 99.97% of its waste.
Amy Stammers, Nc’nean’s head of sustainability, added: “Sustainability has been at the heart of our mission since inception and it really is at the core of everything we do.
“Working to produce our first full carbon footprint has been tough but rewarding, and it is my hope that others in the industry will follow in our footsteps and publish theirs too.
“It is only by measuring emissions that companies can really focus on reducing them. There is still more to achieve.”