Diageo to go green in Africa

Diageo Plc said on Monday it will spend £180m ($220m) in green energy and water recovery solutions at 11 of its African breweries. The initiative represents the company’s largest environmental investment in over a decade.

The company said it will switch to renewable energy at three brewery sites in Kenya and Uganda. New biomass boilers will be installed to replace systems that use heavy fuel oil. The boilers will use sustainable fuel alternatives such as wood chip, bamboo, and rice husks to create steam power for the breweries, reducing carbon emissions by 42,000 tonnes.

In addition, it will install new water recovery, purification and reuse facilities across five sites in Africa, including Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, saving over two billion cubic litres of water a year. The investments will reduce the firm’s carbon emission footprint and move it closer to realising full renewable production, said Andrew Cowan, chief executive of Diageo’s Kenya-based East African Breweries.

Also, solar panels would be installed at 12 breweries in six countries and the solar power will produce 20% of the energy use in each of these breweries. The countries to benefit from the investment include Tanzania, South Africa, Seychelles and Ghana

The group will kick start the project with an initial upfront cash investment of £50m for the biomass equipment, water treatment and solar power. An additional £130m will be spent in long-term supply and maintenance contracts.

“We believe this is one of the biggest single investments in addressing climate change issues across Sub-Saharan countries, said Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes.

“It demonstrates the strength of our commitment to pioneer grain-to-glass sustainability and to positively impact the communities in which we work.”

Diageo generates about 13% of its global sales from its African operations and 50% of its beer sales.

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