Carbon Footprint Assessment for Distillery

2nd September 2021

InchDairnie whisky distillery commissioned us to carry out a greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment to establish the climate impact of the distillery’s operations. This assessment provides a basis for the development InchDairnie’s efforts to become a Net Zero business.

InchDairnie hopes the footprint review will lead the way on common carbon footprinting methods and ways to reduce emissions across the entire industry. This would place transparency and comparability at the heart of carbon reporting across the beverage industry, enabling consumers to make informed choices about the products they buy.

The project analysed data from the 2019 calendar year at InchDairnie’s distillery in Glenrothes, Scotland. The GHG Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard was used to structure the assessment, with the results presented for the organisation on aggregate, and on a per-litre-alcohol basis. As part of the footprinting work, our team assessed emissions from upstream supplies to InchDairnie, and the whisky production process.

In addition to delivering a business-as-usual GHG assessment, we calculated the anticipated GHG changes associated with two decarbonisation options: purchasing renewable electricity, and sourcing biogas from a local anaerobic digester.

Across the whole of 2019, we recorded a total organisation carbon footprint of 4,504 tonnes of CO2e, equating to 2.4kg of CO2e per litre of alcohol. We also projected InchDairnie’s footprints under scenarios:

  • If all the distillery’s electricity were supplied by renewable electricity, 224 tonnes of CO2e overall and 100 grammes per litre would be avoided.
  • If biogas produced in a local anaerobic digester, where InchDairnie sends its waste draff and pot ale, replaced 100% of the distillery’s natural gas consumption, 1,407 tonnes CO2e total would be avoided.
  • If both renewable electricity and biogas were consumed by the distillery, a total of 1,631 tonnes of CO2e overall and 870 grammes of CO2e per litre would be avoided.

Through the carbon footprint assessment, we were able to identify the main sources of emissions in InchDairnie’s operations and key target areas for emissions reduction:

  • Supply of malt – 56% under grid average-based footprint and 59% under renewable electricity-based footprint
  • Gas for heating – 31% under grid average-based footprint and 33% under renewable electricity-based footprint.
  • Electricity – 4% under grid average-based footprint and 0% under renewable electricity-based footprint.
  • Scope 3 (gas and electricity) energy emissions – 5% under grid average-based footprint and 4% under renewable electricity-based footprint.

Based on the main sources of emissions, we were able to make recommendations for further emissions reductions, such as continuing a dialogue with the distillery’s barley supplier to explore future lower carbon malt supplies and replacing its existing gas supply with biogas.

George Beechener, who worked on the carbon footprint, commented: “InchDairnie wanted an in-depth assessment of their current operations, to lead by example in providing transparent GHG data. We were pleased to support them in this and signpost the areas of their operations where there is the largest opportunity for cutting GHG emissions. InchDairnie’s plans to include GHG assessments as part of its ongoing decision-making criteria demonstrates its commitment to sustainable operations. Given the recent Scotch Whisky Association’s commitment to Net Zero carbon in 2040, we hope that InchDairnie’s lead will inspire other whisky companies to take similar steps.”

Ian Palmer, Managing Director at InchDairnie, said: “Working with Eunomia is easy and very informative. The report they developed for us has helped us focus on the areas of our carbon footprint that we can influence to best effect.”