Other environmental impacts
While we have reported on our most significant environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste in other sections of this report, our operations do generate other potential environmental impacts. Here is a summary of them.
Ozone-depleting emissions other than carbon dioxide
Besides carbon dioxide, our manufacturing sites emit certain ozone depleting substances that we track and aim to minimise. We have made progress in eliminating many of these and replacing them with less hazardous substances.
- Halons: this year we reached our goal of eliminating all ozone-depleting halons present in fire extinguishing equipment at our manufacturing sites
- CFCs: we have also successfully removed these ozone-depleting substances from our operations this year.
- HCFCs: used as a replacement for CFCs, HCFCs are present in our air conditioning and refrigeration units; the total amount present this year was 15,635kg of which 144kg were emitted.
Other air emissions
Where appropriate we also measure other emissions that can have harmful impacts. Through the use of fuels at some of our sites, we emit nitrous oxides and sulphur dioxides which cause acid rain. In 2011, we emitted 0.9 kilotonnes (kt) (2010: 1.2kt) of nitrous oxides and 1.3kt (2010: 1.3kt) of sulphur dioxides.
When spirits are maturing, some of the alcohol from the barrels evaporates, which is essential to create the desired flavour. However, alcohol is water-soluble and biodegradable, and much of the vapour is removed from the air by rain.
Spills and other incidents
There were no incidents of non-compliance with environmental consents during the reporting year. However, we had one incident of non-compliance from the prior year which incurred a fine this year. This incident involved non-compliance with an air permit at one of our facilities in the US from 2010. We incurred a fine of US$40,000 (£25,696) by the local regulatory body.
There were 16 (2010: 21) spills or other incidents during the reporting year, totalling approximately 219,000 litres of spilled material, primarily alcohol. All spills were dealt with swiftly and, as of June 30, 2011, we had received no fines in relation to these incidents.
Diageo recognises that each species, no matter how small, has an important role to play in supporting the ecosystem we and our communities rely on. While we have no operations located within protected areas, 22 of our 106 production sites are located adjacent to, areas designated as having biodiversity value by the United Nations or national conservation lists. This amounts to approximately 21.8 km2 at, or near, areas that include:
- Pinnacles National Monument in San Benito County, California, USA located adjacent to our winery in the town of Paicines. This area is a release site for the Californian condor (gymnogyps californianus) which is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
- St Croix, US Virgin Islands, is home to the St Croix ground lizard (ameiva polops), another IUCN critically endangered species. Our Captain Morgan distillery is located on St Croix.
- The Parkfoot Marsh Wildlife Site and the River Spey in Scotland are protected areas located adjacent to several of our malt distilleries
We aim to protect local biodiversity through our environmental targets, most notably on the polluting power of our effluent.
Beyond our operations, we set out what we expect of suppliers in relation to biodiversity in our Sustainable Agricultural Sourcing Guidelines.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
Public acceptance of GMOs differs sharply between nations, and scientific knowledge and public opinion continue to evolve. We believe that scientific advances in this area must be guided by the government agencies responsible for public health and the environment.
Generally speaking we aim to use non-genetically modified materials. We have a strict non-genetically modified policy for the European domestic and duty-free markets, and we aim not to use non-genetically modified materials in Asia Pacific or Africa. So all products imported from Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific will neither contain nor have GMOs. However this policy cannot be applied in the US and Canada where over 85% of all crops are genetically modified. Diageo complies with all local labelling legislation, including any requirement for the labelling of products which contain GMOs.
The consumer is at the heart of everything we do. We are therefore committed to ensuring our consumers have the information they need to make choices about our products. We will continue to monitor and respond to scientific and regulatory developments, as well as to consumer attitudes, and review our policy regularly.