Diageo to create sustainable bottles at scaleBy Alice Brooker
Johnnie Walker owner Diageo has teamed up with glass manufacturer Encirc to create the first net-zero glass bottles at scale.
An ultra-low carbon, hydrogen-powered glass furnace will be built in Cheshire, UK. Glass production will begin in 2027.
By 2030, Diageo is aiming to have produced up to 200 million net zero bottles for its Smirnoff vodka, Captain Morgan rum, Gordon’s gin and Tanqueray gin brands.
Ewan Andrew, president, global supply and procurement and chief sustainability officer at Diageo, said: “We are really excited to be a part of this world leading announcement, which forms part of our commitment to halve our Scope 3 carbon emissions by 2030.
“All renewable energy options are important to us and we’d like to see government and industry further accelerating the direct supply of green energy as a mainstream option. Ultimately, we look forward to a world where people can enjoy their favourite drinks from zero-carbon glass bottles.”
Last year, Encirc and its glass industry partner Glass Futures trialled one of the furnaces at a Northern Ireland-based plant with sustainable biofuels, creating bottles for brands including Diageo’s Black & White whisky.
The glass used was 100% recycled to create the ‘most sustainable bottles ever produced’. The bottles had a carbon footprint that was up to 90% lower than a standard glass bottle.
Adrian Curry, managing director of Encirc, said: “This will be a major step in our goal of producing net zero glass by 2030. With support from the government and key partners, Encirc and Diageo we believe it will be possible to have this first of its kind furnace up and running at the beginning of 2027.
“Glass is an incredible material being infinitely recyclable and chemically inert. It has been around since 3,500 BC and has never been produced in this way. This is about protecting glass as a material by addressing the carbon challenge.
“The work we and glass futures undertake will be shared with the UK glass industry to ensure glass remains as the packing of choice for many thousands more years.”
Decarbonising glass packaging is to be a key part of the UK government’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050, according to Diageo.
The hydrogen used to power the new furnace will come from Vertex Hydrogen, a partner of the government-backed Hynet North West cluster – the UK’s leading industrial decarbonisation project.
Joe Seifert, CEO of Vertex Hydrogen, said “We are delighted to be supporting Encirc and Diageo with low carbon hydrogen as the UK continues to lead the world to deliver tangible decarbonisation at pace and scale.”
The move by Diageo is part of its The Society 2030: Spirit of Progress 10-year plan to reduce carbon emissions across its supply chain by 2030.