Johnnie Walker paper bottle first step in sustainable packaging race

Tony Cowger
2 min readOct 9, 2020

“Collaboration is the way to go when it comes to tackling climate change, according to one of the world’s largest alcoholic drinks makers.

Like many large manufacturers, Diageo found that a lot of its carbon footprint is produced early on in its supply chain, including from raw materials and in packaging. These are classified as being emissions that the company does not directly control, also known as scope three emissions, or those that come from its “value chain.”

Suppliers in that part of the chain might provide goods to several different companies, which means communication is key, according to Kate Gibson, Diageo’s global director of society. ‘As more companies have more focus on this, we’re all asking each other (what we’re doing) because we are all in each other’s scope three, which is a very good thing. Because the only way that we can actually stop … catastrophic climate change and deliver the Paris Agreement is if we all really understand our full scope and work together on it,’ she told CNBC by phone.

In the U.K., it has been mandatory for large companies to disclose their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions since April 1, 2019, but they don’t have to include scope three in their reporting. In the U.S., there is no requirement to report, although some corporations voluntarily release emissions data to the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), a nonprofit that collects environmental information.

Between 2007 and 2020, Diageo reduced directly produced greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, and reduced value chain (or scope three) emissions by just over a third over the same period.

One way Diageo is tackling its scope three emissions is via packaging, and it is set to launch a paper-based bottle for its Johnnie Walker whisky brand next year. Diageo worked with venture company Pilot Lite to create Pulpex, a company that will produce bottles from sustainably-sourced wood pulp, and invited others in non-competing industries to take part, including PepsiCo and Unilever.”

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Originally published at on October 9, 2020.