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Chivas Brothers Launches Sustainable ‘The River Within’ Partnership

Reperesentatives from The River Within examine water at the River Spey near Aberlour.
(L-R) Robert Laughton, Penny Lawson, and Richard Miller (Scottish River Trust representatives) along with Julie Gallacher (Chivas Brothers) examine the water quality of the River Spey at Craigellachie Bridge near Aberlour, Scotland. Credit: Chivas Brothers

To mark World Water Day (22nd March), Chivas Brothers have launched a new sustainability partnership intending to protect the rivers and waterways of Scotland. Named ‘The River Within’, the collaboration will conserve and examine the health of 5,566km-squared of waterways in North-East Scotland. 

‘The River Within’ partnership will be a collaboration between the following: 

  • Chivas Brothers 
  • The Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust 
  • Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie River Trust 
  • Spey Catchment Initiative 

Scotland’s waterways are vital to the health and vitality of Scottish wildlife, such as the Atlantic salmon that populate the River Spey. 

According to The James Hutton Institute/European Environment Agency, 34% of Scotland’s waterways are “in compromised ecological health, meaning by the end of this century as a result of climate change, they could face three times as many droughts and up to 40% more flooding, threatening the diversity of life in and around the waterways”. 

Of course, water is also an essential ingredient in making scotch whisky. Scotch whisky contributes highly to Scotland’s economy, with exports in 2023 topping £5.6 billion. As such, the health of Scottish waterways is also integral to the economy’s health. 

Examining biodiversity is key to preserving the health of Scottish waterways. Credit: Chivas Brothers

The waterways that will be under the protection of ‘The River Within’ fall under the catchment areas of the three Trusts. The initiative will focus on combating the effects of climate change and protecting biodiversity. 

Head of Sustainability & Responsibility at Chivas Brothers, Julie Gallacher said: 

“Scotland’s waterways are the lifeblood of whisky production, so while we use this precious resource responsibly, returning 96% of what we use to its source, we like to think there’s a ‘river within’ each bottle. Many of our distilleries are built on the banks of treasured Scottish rivers and it’s from these waters that our renowned whiskies are endowed with their unique spirit, essence and even their names. Just as we rely on the rivers, the rivers rely on us. The art of whisky making is a delicate balance, so too is the Scottish landscape in which we craft it. That is why we are proud to launch this partnership with the three River Trusts to protect and build a resilient network of Scottish rivers and riverbanks that support biodiversity for generations to come​.” 

The directors and chief executives at the three Trusts echoed this sentiment, with Roger Knight, Chief Executive at the Spey Catchment Initiative, saying: “Through this exciting partnership, we are poised to implement targeted projects that will not only address immediate concerns, such as biodiversity enhancement and climate change mitigation, but also ensure the long-term resilience and health of our rivers.” 

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