Guinness’s barley farms are joining a three-year pilot, during which Diageo seeks to benchmark how the implementation of regenerative practices can improve soil health, crop yield, farmer wellbeing, water quality and biodiversity. The pilot will start with 40 farm participants, adding more as it develops. Diageo hopes to transfer these learnings across its regional partner farms, advancing its mission to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its direct operation by 2030.
The pilot’s takeaways will be open source to encourage other alcohol companies and farmers to implement the most impactful farming strategies. Sharing these insights is a critical step because there’s currently no official industry definition as to what regenerative agriculture entails – although most people agree it results in improved soil and water health. By providing benchmarks, Diageo could help to build a definition of regenerative agriculture and processes that reap the greatest rewards for environmental health.
Diageo is joining a larger push to reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of the alcohol industry. US beer company Molson Coors and brewer Anheuser-Busch have also donated money and supported farmers to implement regenerative agriculture. But Diageo’s decision is notable here for its intention to transpose these learnings into other alcohol sectors, specifically spirits, thereby multiplying their impact.