Diageo spends $219m on greener African business

British drinks giant Diageo plc brings its green energy push to 11 breweries across Africa.


British drinks giant Diageo plc has announced plans to pump $219m into clean energy infrastructure in 11 of its African breweries in one of its biggest clean energy investments in a decade.

The sweeping investment includes a $61m upfront capital injection in solar power, water treatment and biomass equipment followed by $158m investment in maintenance and operations.

Under the plans new biomass boilers will be installed in Diageo’s brand new brewery in Kisumu, Kenya, in their Tusker site in Nairobi, and in another plant in Kampala, Uganda.

The new boilers will swap fossil fuels for green alternatives such as wood chip, bamboo and rice husks, reducing carbon emissions by 42,000 tonnes a year, the company says. Over 900 jobs will also be created throughout the supply chain, especially for local farmers providing biomass fuels.

New water purification systems in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria will help save over two bn cubic litres of water a year, while solar installations at 12 breweries across six countries will produce up to 20% of each site’s electricity demand.

The new infrastructure will also help their Tusker site become the most environmentally friendly brewery in Sub-Saharan Africa, Diageo says.

The investment falls in line with the spirit makers 2020 target of improving water efficiency by 50%, reducing their carbon footprint in their supply chain by 30%, and sourcing 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

In 2008 Diageo launched a global programme of carbon reduction, renewable energy and water efficiency programmes starting with a new bio-energy plant at the Cameronbridge distillery in Scotland in 2008.

Since then the brand behind Smirnoff, Baileys and Guinness has launched a global programme of carbon reduction, renewable energy and water efficiency programmes.

The company’s African turn to sustainable solutions also leads the way for other local manufacturers in a continent vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a minimum 2.5°C increase in temperature in Africa by 2030, that may cause drylands bordering the deserts to get drier, while wetlands risk flooding.

Diageo Chief Executive, Ivan Menezes, said: “We have a responsibility as a local manufacturer and employer in Africa to grow our business sustainably – creating shared value – and this significant investment continues our work to pioneer sustainable solutions for our local supply chains.”  

With 12 breweries across the continent, sustainability of Diageo’s Africa business is increasingly important. Africa accounts for 13% of global sales,  while its breweries in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda produce more beer than any other region. 

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