EcoSPIRITS is extending its closed-loop packaging solution with international drinks giant Diageo the latest company to adopt the sustainability program.

Sui Ling Cheah, Executive Board Chair of ecoSPIRITS, believes the new partnership will allow the sustainability specialists to scale up its operations.

“EcoSPIRITS is building a global platform for closed-loop wine and spirits. Our roadmap for Intelligent Circular will help us, and pioneering customers like Diageo, tackle the environmental footprint of single-use glass at an unprecedented scale,” Ling Cheah said.

The trial means that Diageo is the first of ecoSPIRITS partners to directly operate one of its ecoPLANT bottling facilities. During the scheme, Diageo will send Smirnoff and Captain Morgan to venues in ecoSPIRITS reusable ecoTOTE containers.

Participating restaurants and bars will use the SmartPour 2.0 technology to precisely dispense spirits. After being emptied, the ecoTOTE containers will be returned to Diageo for refilling, ensuring a ‘closed loop’ distribution and a reduction in single-use glass bottles.

Overview of the closed loop ecoSPIRITS system.

Preeti Arora Razdan, Diageo’s CEO for Southeast Asia, sees this collaboration as another step in the company’s long-term sustainability plans.

“Diageo is guided by the goals outlined in our Society 2030: Spirit of Progress 10-year action plan and we are committed to building a low-carbon and zero-waste world,” Razdan says.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with ecoSPIRITS to help us deliver on this promise to significantly reduce our carbon footprint and eliminate unnecessary glass waste with our on-premise customers.”

“This pilot is an important step in the right direction to innovate and model a more sustainable solution for all our markets in Southeast Asia,” Razdan concluded.

Diageo has stated it has a ‘view of a later rollout across the Asia-Pacific region’ which will likely include the Australian market.

The partnership could have an impact beyond the Asia-Pacific region. Diageo owns and operates more than 25 Scotch whisky distilleries, and is a significant member of the Scotch Whisky Assocation (SWA), with Diageo’s CEO, Ivan Menezes, currently chair of the SWA Council. SWA guidelines (backed up by British customs law, international trade and IP agreements) currently do not allow for products bottled as outside of Scotland to be labelled as ‘Single Malt’.

As such, industry observers will be keeping a close eye to see if Diageo’s collaboration with ecoSPIRITS leads to a relaxing of these rules, or whether Diageo will extend this distribution to its UK-based operations.

For EcoSPIRITS, this partnership follows previous collaborations with the likes of Accolade Wines and Never Never Distilling Co., cementing the Singapore-based business as industry leaders in drinks sustainability.

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