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Global: Diageo launches open innovation call to enhance water management throughout its supply chain

Diageo has issued an open call for innovative solutions aimed at reducing and optimizing water usage throughout its global supply chain. The company is seeking five groundbreaking innovations to enhance the management of water resources, showcasing its commitment to sustainability and responsible water stewardship.

The open innovation call is an integral component of Diageo Sustainable Solutions, a program initiated in 2020 as a crucial element of Diageo’s comprehensive 10-year ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) action plan titled “Society 2030: Spirit of Progress.” This strategic initiative underscores Diageo’s dedication to addressing environmental and social challenges, reflecting the company’s long-term commitment to sustainable and responsible business practices.

The primary objective of the program is to bridge the innovation gap necessary to achieve the ambitious targets set by the company. Diageo recognizes that embracing new technologies and novel approaches is crucial for instigating systemic changes required to meet its sustainability goals.

Diageo considers the water crisis as integral to the broader climate crisis and views responsible water management as a cornerstone of its social license to operate. Recognizing the critical role water plays in its operations, Diageo is actively seeking innovative solutions through its innovation challenges.

Diageo Sustainable Solutions extends an invitation to applicants globally, welcoming innovative solutions from around the world. The program emphasizes a collaborative approach, allowing technologies developed or trialed through this initiative to have broader applications beyond Diageo. Importantly, there is no exclusivity clause, meaning that participants are not confined to working solely with Diageo.

Ewan Andrew, President of Global Supply and Procurement and Chief Sustainability Officer said: “Water is our most important resource at Diageo for our communities, our operations and our products. Diageo Sustainable Solutions gives us a unique opportunity to search far and wide externally to connect with fast moving innovators who can challenge our status quo and scale their technology.”

John Cant, Head of Diageo Sustainable Solutions said: “Our Diageo Sustainable Solutions programme gives us the unique opportunity to work closely with innovators and start ups in a collaborative way to test their technology within our supply chain. We will give successful innovators the platform to pilot, the investment to scale it if successful at pilot, and throughout the process we’ll support the innovators with our expertise and resources for success.”

The window for applications for the water challenges under Diageo Sustainable Solutions is currently open until March 20, 2024. Following the submission deadline, the internal Diageo Sustainable Solutions team will undertake a comprehensive review of the received applications. Successful applicants will then have the opportunity to showcase their innovations or technologies in front of a Select Committee.

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