Scotch whisky industry unveils water stewardship framework

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Scotch whisky Scotch whisky association Whisky Scotland Scottish government whiskey water stewardship Water supply

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has published a Water Stewardship Framework to help the industry reduce water across the production process.

Water is one of just three ingredients for making Scotch Whisky and is used extensively across the production and cleaning process. Distilleries’ water use varies greatly according to capacity and location, with a target range set by the SWA in 2021 as 12.5 to 25 l/lpa (amount of water used by liter of alcohol produced).

The new framework focuses on three key areas: responsible use, engagement and collaboration, and advocacy.

Aside from seeking to reduce water use and increase efficiency during production, measures include working with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to identify at risk catchment areas, identifying water risk hotspots within the supply chain (such as water-intensive raw materials), and maintaining dialogue with the Scottish government and regulators on water resource management. 

“These three themes aim to provide SWA member companies with clear direction on how they can address water use and efficiency improvement in their operations, while incorporating wider collaboration and advocacy activities,” says the association. “The Framework encourages a collaborative industry approach to deliver on-the-ground improvement projects and influence future policy to ensure the protection and preservation of a vital resource.

“Previous data analysed by the SWA showed that water efficiency – measured in l/lpa – had improved by 22% since 2012. The SWA will continue to gather data from across the industry to re-benchmark progress and set ambitious targets to take the sector beyond compliance on water.”

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