The Scotland-based Alliance for Water Stewardship recently awarded 11 of the Diageo distilleries the International Water Stewardship Standard certification.
The certification is a prestigious certification for how they manage precious water resources and was awarded just ahead of the COPS26 UN Climate change conference in Glasgow. The AWS sets a global benchmark for water sustainability each year.
The AWS Standard is the international standard for responsible water use and includes social, cultural and environmental criteria, including engagement with local communities. The standard recognizes continual improvement and commitment to ongoing action in response to the ever-changing nature of water and climate-related threats.
The River Spey is one of Scotland’s longest rivers and is famous for its finishing and whisky with 50% of all Scotch whisky distilled on the Spey. The entire river is protected under European legislation as a Special Area of Conservation for its protection of biodiversity such as wildlife species, including the Atlantic salmon.
“The Diageo Spey Catchment Group is the first group of distilleries globally to be certified to the AWS Standard, meaning they have shown a high level of water stewardship performance. Water is the primary medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change. Diageo’s leadership will not only help safeguard one of Scotland’s most important exports, but it also serves as a model to other companies on the power of collective action as water availability becomes less predictable in many places,” Adrian Sym Chief Executive Officer of Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), said in a prepared statement.
The Diageo Spey Catchment Group, which includes Cardhu, Mortlach and Cragganmore, has seen it awarded the certification.
In order to get the certification, Diageo engaged with local communities and stakeholders to initiate projects across the River Spey.
“Water is an absolutely crucial ingredient of our whisky, but it is also a precious shared resource that is coming under increasing pressure in many parts of the world, including Scotland,” Ewan Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer at Diageo, said. “We know how important it is that we protect the iconic River Spey that makes our whisky special. The certification of our Speyside distilleries recognizes the efforts we have led in the catchment, to ensure high quality and sustainable water stewardship, so that our natural landscape is preserved for everyone.”
Hannah Kanik is a freelance writer from California. Two years ago, she found herself drinking Scottish whisky atop Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh and found her love for whisky and its storytelling side-effects.