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SWA head Paul Walsh urges Scotch whisky industry to go 'green'

Published:  23 July, 2008

The Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) is urging the industry to embrace social responsibility and not to "tick boxes"

Speaking at the World Whiskies Conference in Glasgow this week, Paul Walsh, chair of the SWA, said: "Investors are looking for companies to be successful and profitable but to do so in a sustainable way."

They want companies to "drive long-term value for them and mitigate risk," he said.

"In my view an astute modern business should not treat responsible behaviour as a tick-box process or a marketing exercise. Rather it is a driver of long-term growth - an essential component for a company's all round success.

"It makes strong business sense by driving efficiencies and of course it allows us to engage with consumers who increasingly and rightly scrutinise a company's green credentials," he said.

Walsh said the impact of the a world of "finite" resources was already pushing companies to go green.

"Cereal costs have doubled, energy and other input costs are increasing and we face cost pressures in relation to glass, casks and packaging. Copper prices have spiralled due to increased demand from China," he said.

The SWA is due to release its environmental and sustainable review of the industry with certain targets it wants its members to meet, in a "few months" time.