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Regenerative tipple anyone? 

Diageo has announced two regenerative agriculture programmes in Scotland and Mexico for the whisky and tequila sectors.

The programmes, focused on barley, wheat and agave, promise to enhance biodiversity, improve water stewardship and improve soil health. They will also play a part in Diageo reducing its scope 3 carbon emissions, which currently contribute one third of the beverage company’s entire footprint. 

The maker of Johnnie Walker whisky, Don Julio tequila and Guinness, claimed there would also be “additional benefits for the farmers”. 

The programmes will look at locally-adapted practices such as cover crops, reduced cultivations and crop rotations. Baselines of how much carbon the soil currently holds will be calculated, with levels tracked over time in both countries. The impact of regenerative farming practices on soil structure, biological activity and water retention rate in Scotland will also be monitored.

Diageo is also aiming to improve supply resilience, particularly in Jalisco, Mexico, a region that is exposed to climate risks, by building soil health. 

Diageo is already running what it calls “the most ambitious regenerative agriculture pilots in Ireland” with its Guinness brand.  Working with Guinness are Irish farmers and suppliers, including Boortmalt, Glanbia and Comex McKinnon, and the project will help determine the most effective regenerative practices, adapted to the local context and the specific needs of Irish barley production. The results will be “shared openly” to help others, according to John Kennedy, president of Diageo’s operations Europe, Turkey and India.

The programmes form part of Diageo’s investment of £1bn into “developing a low-carbon world”.