Case Studies in CSR: John Dewar and Sons Installs New Biomass Boiler


Already famous for producing some of the finest Scotch in the world, the Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery can also be accredited for reducing its carbon footprint by 90% through the installation of a new biomass boiler.

Instead of burning fossil fuels, a biomass boiler uses organic materials, obtained from various sources, such as wood from trees and energy from crops, food or industrial waste. Interestingly, only 12 cubic metres of wood chips are necessary to produce similar levels of heat to 1000 litres of heating oil. By burning these forms of energy instead, the company greatly reduces its reliance on fossil fuels.

Classified as a carbon neutral renewable energy, a biomass boiler facilitates environmentally friendly practises while efficiently heating water. In fact, by burning wood pellets or logs, this innovative technology "emits the same amount of carbon dioxide as is absorbed while the plants were growing". For this reason, carbon dioxide is neither gained nor lost during the entire process.

In an interview with CSR Wire, Iain Lochhead, Operations Director at John Dewar & Sons Ltd., explains, "Traditionally, distilleries are heavy users of fossil fuels - and that's not good for the environment".

If John Dewar and Sons continues to produce Bacardi at this current pace, the company will decrease its emissions from fossil fuel by at most six thousand tons per year of carbon dioxide at the distillery. Moreover, the biomass boiler lowers energy costs, which helps offset the initial capital investment.

This addition is driven by the company's environmental and CSR goals. Since 2006, about 28% of its nonrenewable energy use has been reduced, and over 28% of its greenhouse gas emissions have decreased. As more companies invest in sustainable practises, companies can collectively make meaningful changes and improve the environment.

John Dewar and Sons' initiative is remarkable, as it shows how simply switching to a more sustainable method of production can dramatically limit its impact on the environment.