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Chivas Brothers partners with barley suppliers to boost sustainability in scotch whisky production

Scotch whisky producer Chivas Brothers has launched a new agriculture programme aimed at supporting sustainable farming practices among its Scottish barley suppliers, as the company seeks to reduce its carbon footprint and future-proof the industry.

The pilot programme, dubbed the 'Dalmunach Growers Pilot Group,' is a collaboration between Chivas Brothers, malt producer Bairds Malt and agricultural merchant Scotgrain. It will run over a three to five-year period and initially involve eight farmers.

"Establishing partnerships with our growers represents a critical moment in Chivas Brothers' sustainability journey," said Ronald Daalmans, environmental sustainability manager at Chivas Brothers.

He continued: "The ongoing impact of climate change means our growers are having to adapt their practices – and many are faced with tough decisions regarding sustainable practices because it is cost prohibitive to implement new techniques without certainty of how they'll affect crops".

Roughly a third of Chivas Brothers' carbon footprint comes from the growing and processing of its agricultural raw materials, including the manufacturing of fertiliser and the production of barley.

The trials will cover approaches to improving soil health, biodiversity and reducing carbon emissions, from fertiliser use and cover-cropping to introducing wildflower strips. Learnings will be shared with the broader community of around 60 farmers under the Bairds Malt and Scotgrain networks.

Victoria Buxton, agronomist and farm business manager at Bairds Malt, added: "To have the support of Chivas Brothers reinforces that climate change is an issue that affects the whole supply chain and we're all equally invested".

Chivas Brothers sources the majority of its supply from Bairds Malt, making the success of this programme important for securing the ingredients critical to whisky production.

"Working together makes us stronger – not only to reduce carbon emissions at pace, but also to provide invaluable insights that can benefit the farming community at large," Daalmans said.


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