By Modupe Gbadeyanka
There are plans to invest about N79.1 billion (£180 million, $217.7 million) in clean energy generation and water recovery across 11 brewing facilities owned by Diageo and located across seven countries in the sub-Saharan Africa.
One of the beneficiaries would be Guinness Nigeria Plc, a company quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
In a press statement issued recently, Mr Ivan Menezes, CEO of the Diageo, a British multinational alcoholic beverages firm, stated that, “We’ve set ourselves ambitious environmental targets, aligned with the United Nations global SDG’s, and our efforts to deliver on these by 2020 continues at pace.
“Progress has included a 45 percent reduction in our carbon emissions and a 44 percent reduction in our water consumption over the past decade.”
The world’s largest drinks maker said it will also add solar installations and water-recovery facilities at its brewing sites in Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and others.
Africa is Diageo’s largest region by beer volume, with Guinness its main brand, and the continent accounts for 13 percent of overall sales.
The company stated that the first stage of the investment will see the beverage giant, which owns brands such as Guinness and Smirnoff, spend £50 million of upfront capital on solar, biomass and water recovery facilities.
It was further noted that biomass boilers using sustainable fuels would be installed at three breweries in Kenya and Uganda to replace the dirty sources of energy production, while bamboo, wood chip and rice husk would create steam power, cutting emissions and creating jobs alongside local farmers who provide raw materials.
While admitting the firm remains committed in reducing its carbon emissions from direct operations by half by 2020, Mr Menezes said he believes the plan is one of the largest single climate-related investments touching multiple sub-Saharan countries to have been made by a private sector firm to date.
“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,” Mr Menezes said.
The move comes as global corporations come under pressure to reduce pollution and help fight climate change.
Business Post reports that Guinness Nigeria has five brewery plants in Lagos, Edo State and Abia State, with two each in Lagos and Benin City (Edo State) and one in Aba (Abia State).
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