The rollout of new packaging for Scotch whisky brand Laphroaig by its parent company Beam Suntory is reflective of a broader shift towards sustainability and the major liquor producer.

The repackaging, announced last week, is aimed at minimising the carbon footprint of each bottle of Laphroaig produced, with beechwood replacing a plastic component and a more recyclable carton introduced.

Suntory has said the move will deliver a reduction of approximately 1,184 tons of greenhouse gases annually, with Suntory vice-president for Global Scotch & Irish Brands Chris Richardson saying: “This new packaging is a good step forward in our global sustainability ambitions, while still maintaining Laphroaig’s true character and exceptionally high quality.”

Among those ambitions are the aims to reduce water usage by 50% per unit produced by 2030, achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, plant more trees than harvested to make new barrels by 2030 and use 100% recyclable packaging by 2030. These – and others – will be achieved through the $1bn commitment to sustainability upgrades the company made in 2021.

As the world’s third-largest premium spirits company, it has a role to play in both helping global economy achieve the aim of net zero by 2050 and in setting an example for others to follow.

GlobalData research suggests that there is substance to its words. Nine of the top 20 keywords mentioned in Beam Suntory filings so far in 2023 (out of over 900 tracked) have been related to sustainability in one form or another.

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‘Water’ was the second-most mentioned keyword, reflecting both its centrality in the production process and its place in the company’s sustainability plan. Notably, with Laphroaig’s recent news in mind, ‘packaging’ has been the fourth most mentioned keyword.

In addition, the environment is one of only ten key themes identified by GlobalData as being referenced in job listings posted by Beam Suntory so far in August. Beam

Suntory’s repackaging of Laphroaig has by no means been its only sustainability effort. In September last year, it unveiled an expansion of its Booker Noe distillery in the US city of Boston, Kentucky, to be powered by renewable energy, while this March it launched a carbon capture project in the agave fields near its Casa Sauza base in Jalisco, Mexico.

Our signals coverage is powered by GlobalData’s Disruptor data, which tracks all major deals, patents, company filings, hiring patterns and social media buzz across our sectors. These signals help us to uncover key innovation areas in the sector and the themes that drive them. They tell us about the topics on the minds of business leaders and investors and indicate where leading companies are focusing their investment, deal-making and R&D efforts.