Diageo India (United Spirits), among the country's leading alco-bev companies, announced its second annual ESG Reporting Index 2023, highlighting the continued progress in line with 'Society 2030: Spirit of Progress' ESG action plan. The Reporting Index shares impact across the three key objectives outlined in Diageo's Society 2030 plan, including pioneering grain-to-glass sustainability, promoting positive drinking and championing inclusion and diversity.
The Reporting Index is developed in accordance with the 'Comprehensive' level of the globally acclaimed GRI Standards (2021) and maps Diageo India's performance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Principles and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board's (SASB) standards for the alcoholic beverage industry which recommends disclosures on material issues.
Commenting on the ESG Reporting Index, Hina Nagarajan, managing director and chief executive officer of Diageo India, said, "I am extremely proud that we have made tremendous strides over the last year towards our Society 2030 goals. Our sustained efforts have continued to yield positive results across water stewardship, waste management, circularity, safety, and corporate governance. The industry recognitions we have been receiving are a testament to our continued progress. The successive edition of this Index is yet another step in transparent reporting on our ESG progress, while we continue to manage ESG risks, seize opportunities and promote sustainable development within our business and in the communities."
Key highlights of Diageo India's ESG Reporting Index 2023 include:
• Pioneering grain-to-glass sustainability Diageo India's continued long-term success depends on the people and planet around them. Therefore, their efforts cover three key areas: preserve water for life, accelerate to a low-carbon world and become sustainable by design.
• Preserving water for life: Aligned with the company's mission to replenish more water than what it uses in water-stressed sites, Diageo India has created replenishment capacity of 4,79,047 Cu.M of water annually under the community water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) program that contributes to local infrastructure as well as improving people's quality of life. The company has also initiated projects to create an additional water replenishment capacity of 2,75,000 Cu.M across the water-stressed sites. The company has increased its water use efficiency by 44%* in distilleries and 30%* in packaging, against the 2030 goal of 40%. The Alwar distillery in Rajasthan is the first spirit distillery in Asia to receive the coveted Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) certification (Core) demonstrating the impact created at the scale of a catchment. The Alwar Distillery, home to Godawan artisanal single malt, is also leveraging innovative technology to capture drinking water from the air to conserve groundwater.
• Accelerating to a low-carbon world: The company has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 89%* upto last year and eliminated the use of coal in distilleries by leveraging renewable energy to achieve its target of net-zero carbon emissions (Scope 1 & 2) across direct operations by 2030. In addition, Diageo India increased in-house solar energy capacity from 1.3 MW to 2.7 MW and achieved 98.5%* renewable energy use status in operations, enabling the company to accomplish 100% renewable energy status ahead of its 2030 target. The company launched an afforestation drive to plant 1,00,000 trees to offset residual greenhouse gas emissions. Beyond direct operations, Diageo India works closely with suppliers (Scope 3 emissions) to establish a sustainable value chain by encouraging switching to renewable/low-carbon alternatives.
• Becoming sustainable by design: The company continued to make progress in reducing total packaging, increasing recycled content and recyclability across formats. During the year, over 99% of materials used were widely recyclable, and the company is well poised to achieve its target of 100% by 2030. Notably, 57% of the packaging material purchased was made of recycled content, fortifying the company's eco-friendly approach. The company initiated phased removal of mono-cartons from its premium scotch brands and collected more than 22,000 MT of post-consumer plastic packaging as part of the EPR initiative. The company launched a Regenerative Agriculture program in Punjab and Haryana, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, India. This initiative empowers 5,000 small-holder farmers with knowledge and tools for regenerative practices including direct seeding, efficient irrigation, soil health, and agroforestry, fostering comprehensive agricultural transformation.
• Responsible consumption Diageo India champions responsible drinking by encouraging moderation and addressing the harmful use of alcohol through focused interventions to curb underage drinking, drink driving and binge drinking.
• Curbing underage consumption: In FY23, over 1,14,543 youth participated in the Act Smart India program, which uses powerful storytelling to create awareness about the dangers of underage drinking.
• Anti Drink Drive: 2,34,807 consumers participated in an anti-drink driving learning experience. They also established partnerships with 25 Regional Transport offices across states in India and set up tab labs to create awareness around anti-drink driving through the 'Wrong Side of the Road' programme. The programme makes use of real-life scenarios to sensitise participants on the effects of drink driving.
• Moderation: Messages of moderation were taken to 52,642 consumers on the DRINKiQ platform.
• Championing inclusion and diversity To build a better business and world, the company actively promotes inclusion and diversity across their business, with partners and within local communities.
• The company has made significant improvements in gender representation with 50% of the Executive Committee comprising of women. As part of their Society 2030 targets, Diageo India is working to increase the representation of women, from 26.4% currently to 33% within the organization.
• The company is expanding its inclusive culture and has over 60 people with disabilities as part of Project Saksham, which provides long-term support for their employment and development.
• The "Learning for Life" program is designed to improve employment and livelihood opportunities for persons from under-represented communities. 1,784 students were trained for the hospitality sector through a National Skill Development Council (NSDC) certified program. Over 50% beneficiaries of this project are women.
• Diageo India has trained over 8,000 people through Diageo Bar Academy, a comprehensive learning platform for bar owners and bartenders.
• Diageo's subsidiary, Royal Challengers Sports Private Limited has won the bid to own and run the Women's Premier League team for Bangalore. This win provides them with the opportunity to promote their narrative of inclusion and diversity and is aligned with Diageo's purpose of celebration.
• Governance plays a vital role in the company's ambition to be among the forerunners in the Indian Consumer Product Goods (CPG) industry on ESG and create enterprise value. It is the foundation of Society 2030: Spirit of Progress and includes doing business the right way, strategic thinking about the long-term value and impact they create, and the risks and opportunities of their operating environment and business model.
• The Board comprises of diverse, experienced, and seasoned professionals with adequate representation of independent directors, including the Chairperson of the Board. During FY 23, USL's Board comprised 10 members including 5 Independent Directors and 3 women representatives to ensure that the responsibility of governance is discharged to the highest standards. The Chairperson of the Board, Risk Management Committee, Audit Committee and the CSR and ESG Committee are all Independent Directors.
• The Board includes the Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental, Social and Governance Committee, which is responsible for monitoring the organization's ESG performance.
• ESG Governance is being driven through cross-functional teams that are responsible for embedding ESG aspects in their business processes and reporting to the Executive Committee every quarter.