• Ricardo supports Scotch Whisky industry with journey to net zero

Green Energy

Ricardo supports Scotch Whisky industry with journey to net zero

Jun 05 2020

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has today published a report exploring the practical ways that collectively the industry can achieve net zero carbon emissions

The Scotch Whisky industry has already demonstrated its focus on reducing its impact on the climate, with SWA’s recent 2020 progress report highlighting that the industry has increased non-fossil fuel use to over a quarter of its primary energy consumption, improved water efficiency by over 20 percent since 2012 base and now sends only one percent of its waste to landfill. 

The ambition to define a net zero roadmap was developed in response to SWA member companies’ ambition to proactively and positively reduce the impacts of climate change in line with the Scottish Government’s 2045 net zero target.

Ricardo has supported the SWA in the development of the report, utilizing sustainability and energy experts to analyse data from over 120 Scotch Whisky sites across Scotland.

Through the robust analysis of energy data and engagement with industry stakeholders, Ricardo worked with the SWA to model potential net zero pathways for the Scotch Whisky industry to achieve net-zero emissions. Recommendations included decarbonizing current fossil fuelled distillation processes, with an emphasis on anaerobic digestion, energy efficiency and the adoption of cutting-edge hydrogen technology.

The report also highlights challenges faced by the industry, including a need for policy certainty around the implementation of new technologies such as hydrogen, and explores the need for appropriate incentives to encourage SWA members to commit to a low carbon approach.

Peter Clark, head of operational affairs for the Scotch Whisky Association, commented: “Ricardo has assisted the SWA in assessing what the transition to net zero means to the Scotch Whisky industry. This work helped inform the SWA in its review of the sector’s wide-reaching Environmental Strategy. It has been valuable to demonstrate the recommended steps the sector can take towards a more sustainable product, and the support that is needed from governments and regulators to take these steps.”

Simon Morris, Ricardo’s director of net zero commented: “Ricardo experts are working extensively to help individual organizations and whole sectors in defining their ambitions for achieving net zero ahead of the UK’s 2050 target.  Through robust science-based analysis, we’re helping organizations to define roadmaps for their net zero ambitions and supporting them with the implementation.”



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