Suntory Global Spirits announce second partnership with RSPB Scotland in latest expansion of Peatland Restoration Programme

Suntory Global Spirits announce second partnership with RSPB Scotland

Suntory Global Spirits announce second partnership with RSPB Scotland in latest expansion of Peatland Restoration Programme    


The programme has funded £250,000 to restore 80 hectares of peatland in partnership with RSPB Scotland on Islay, the island home of Laphroaig and Bowmore distilleries.
This is the fourth major restoration project the Peatland Water Sanctuary™ has funded since launching in 2021.


SCOTLAND, UK (15 May 2024) – Suntory Global Spirits, previously known as Beam Suntory, announces that it has restored a further 80 hectares of peatland through the Peatland Water Sanctuary™ (PWS™) programme. The restoration work was carried out at The Oa reserve on Islay in partnership with RSPB Scotland and will help to maintain the important role of peatland ecosystems in Scotland’s natural environment. 


The Oa is a large and diverse reserve with freshwater lochs and peatland bogs, as well as sea cliffs and coastal grasslands. It is home to many important breeding and wintering birds, including golden eagles, choughs and twites, alongside wildlife like otters and grey seals. Suntory Global Spirits has contributed £250,000 to re-establish the original peatland vegetation and water table, which will revive the natural ecosystem.


This project is the second partnership between Suntory Global Spirits and RSPB Scotland. In November 2022, the two organisations partnered to restore 160 hectares of peatland at the Airds Moss reserve in East Ayrshire. It also follows Suntory Global Spirits’ recent announcement in March that it is partnering with Northern Peat & Moss to restore peatland using novel techniques on Craigculter Moss in Aberdeenshire. 


The completed restoration work at The Oa brings Suntory Global Spirits’ total area of restored peatland on Islay up to 150 hectares, with a further 70 hectares having been already restored near the Bowmore distillery.


As part of its commitment to promoting peatland conservation education and action, Suntory Global Spirits collaborated with RSPB Scotland to host a peatland awareness day at The Oa nature reserve. Conservation experts, members of the local community and the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) attended. 


The SWA is wholly committed to achieving a sustainable future for the use of peat in the Scotch Whisky industry, and published the Commitment to Responsible Peat Use (CRPU) in 2023. The CRPU was developed with an expert group of Scotch Whisky producers, the Scotch Whisky Research Institute (SWRI) and supply chain partners such as The Maltsters’ Association of Great Britain (MAGB) to create a tangible action plan that aligns with Scottish peatland protections identified in the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 4.


Alistair Longwell, Head of Distillation & Environment, Suntory Global Spirits comments: “We are proud long-term partners of RSPB Scotland as sponsors of the RSPB Scotland Nature of Scotland Awards for over a decade, and now collaborating on two important peatland restoration projects. The restoration at The Oa is not only integral to sustaining its resilience to climate change, but also in promoting a protected nature reserve on our special island of Islay, home to our Laphroaig and Bowmore distilleries and a thriving local community.”


Jack Fleming, RSPB Scotland Area Manager for Argyll, Arran and Ardnamurchan, adds: “We’re thrilled to have taken this latest step in our partnership with Suntory Global Spirits. As well as trapping carbon, healthy peatlands provide homes for iconic wildlife such as Curlews and Hen Harriers. They are among the most effective tools we have for tackling the nature and climate crisis, so to have restored 80 hectares at The Oa, on top of the previous work at Airds Moss, is an achievement well worth raising a glass to.”  


Anna Graham, Head of Environment, Science and Innovation, Scotch Whisky Association, said: “Peatland restoration is a key pillar at the heart of the industry’s Commitment to Responsible Peat Use, and is crucial in ensuring the longer-term sustainability of what is a precious resource, not just for our sector but for its wider role in supporting climate change resilience. Initiatives and investment like that on display at Suntory Global Spirits’ peatland awareness day demonstrate the Scotch Whisky industry’s clear understanding of the responsibility it has to care for the land, and we look forward to seeing continued progress in the coming years.”


Harumichi Seta, Senior General Manager, Biodiversity/Water Stewardship Lead, Sustainability Management Division, Suntory Holdings comments: “Now in our fourth year, we are excited to see our PWS initiative making positive impacts in restoring Scotland’s peatlands, which play a vital role in improving water retention and quality as well as supporting carbon sequestration and biodiversity. Nature and water being the core of our business, the great progress we are making in Scotland exemplifies our commitment to furthering our efforts to protect the environment in which we operate.” 


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Media contact: 
Natasha.Wilson@beamsuntory.com

 

About Peatland Water Sanctuary™

The Peatland Water Sanctuary™ is a large-scale series of peatland restoration and watershed conservation projects in Scotland launched in 2021 by Suntory Global Spirits (previously known as Beam Suntory) and its parent company, Suntory Holdings. Through PWS™, the companies have committed to invest more than $4 million to the restoration and conservation of a minimum of 1,300 hectares of peatlands by 2030, enough to produce the same amount of peat that Suntory Global Spirits uses to make its peated whiskies on an ongoing basis. Beyond this, there is a longer-term aim to restore sufficient peatlands by 2040 to equate twice what Suntory Global Spirits uses.

The PWS™ programme began with work to restore and conserve peatland near the Ardmore distillery in November 2021 in partnership with the James Hutton Institute and Forestry & Land Scotland. Since this time, it has also partnered with the RSPB Scotland to regenerate peatland at the Airds Moss reserve in East Ayrshire, Scotland, and at The Oa nature reserve on the island of Islay, Scotland. In 2024, Suntory Global Spirits announced another PWS™ partnership with Northern Peat & Moss to restore peatland using novel techniques at Craigculter Moss in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. 


Across its projects, Suntory Global Spirits has already restored 206 hectares of peatland, with a further 435 hectares in active planning stages. The PWS™ programme aligns with the Suntory Group Sustainability Vision and Suntory Global Spirits’ ambitious Proof Positive sustainability strategy, as well as the Scotch Whisky Association’s environmental commitments.

 

About Suntory Global Spirits 

As a world leader in premium spirits, Suntory Global Spirits inspires the brilliance of life, by creating rich experiences for people, in harmony with nature. Known for its craftsmanship of premium whiskies, including Jim Beam® and Maker’s Mark®; Japanese whiskies, including Yamazaki®, Hakushu®, Hibiki® and Toki™; and leading Scotch brands including Laphroaig® and Bowmore®, Suntory Global Spirits also produces leading brands such as Tres Generaciones® and El Tesoro® tequila, Roku™ and Sipsmith® gin, and is a world leader in Ready-To-Drink cocktails, with brands like -196 and On The Rocks™ Premium Cocktails.

 

A global company with approximately 6,000 employees in nearly 30 countries, Suntory Global Spirits is driven by its core values of Growing for Good, Yatte Minahare and Giving Back to Society. The company’s Proof Positive sustainability strategy includes ambitious goals and investments to drive sustainable change and have a positive impact on the planet, consumers and communities. Headquartered in New York City, Suntory Global Spirits is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan. For more information, visit www.suntoryglobalspirits.com and www.drinksmart.com.

 

About RSPB Scotland 

RSPB Scotland is part of the RSPB, the UK’s largest nature conservation charity. Protecting habitats, saving species and helping to end the nature and climate emergency. Nature is in crisis. Together we can save it.
 

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