Promoting Corporate Sustainability


This essay purposes to analyze the way in which Diageo plc complies with the GRI and UN SDG, in a bid to structuring their sustainability management, as well as reporting. In this regard, this paper looks into the question as to whether Diageo is taking significant action, based on the issues raised in its sustainability report.


GRI and SDGs

GRI is an international, independent non-profit, and also a multi-stakeholder organization that aims at promoting economic, environmental, as well as social sustainability. Having been established in 1997 whilst in partnership with UNEP, GRI has over the years developed significant sustainability reporting guidelines that purpose to increase the level of transparency and accountability of social, as well as environmental performance, thereby, providing companies with a comprehensive framework for sustainability reporting, which is used widely across the globe (GRI, 2018).

On the other hand, SDGs is a UN initiative that contains a set of 17 global goals, approved by all governments, and they were developed through an intensive inclusion process. Companies play a key role in achieving these goals, whereas the GRI acts as a powerful agent that enhances significant changes (SDGs, 2018). Basically, GRI standards enable measuring, and reporting of the SGDs. Diageo has adopted SDGs in its reports and there is evidence of it working towards achieving the set goals (SDGs, 2018).

Diageo's sustainability management and reporting

Since 2014, Diageo has purposed to use the IIRC’s framework to guide its integrated reporting (GRI, 2017). The company aims to meet the SDG expectations in three significant ways. The first is that the company presents its SDG disclosures in its annual report that describes its SDGs strategies, and commercial performance. Second, the company publishes its performance Addendum to support its stakeholder, relying on detailed information that cannot be included in the company’s annual report, because of space and commitment of the GRI. Diageo's disclosures are structured in the GRI index that uses the G4 framework guideline. The third way of reporting is through the company’s website that provides details of the company’s SDGs approach, and as well provides its strategy in action (GRI, 2016).

Environmental issues

Diageo uses natural resources responsibly, and it is working towards reducing carbon, packaging, waste, as well as water in its operations throughout its supply chain, thus, meeting the SDGs expectations, which are then reported through the GRI guidelines (GRI, 2019). Diageo aims at eliminating waste to landfill, recycling, and re-using, based in its operations, and it is committed to continue with the same strategy to 2020 as shown below

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The company targets at halving its direct carbon emissions by 2020 against its 2007 baseline, and as such, purposing to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in its supply chain. Moreover, it purposes to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission as prescribed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as shown in the figue below.

Global Railway versus Air

Diageo had launched its guidelines on plastics and packaging, thus reinforcing its commitment towards enhancing sustainable packaging in its business (Dagieo, 2019). In addition, it has purposed to reduce its water use to 50% whilst improving water-use efficiency in its operations (Chestney & Geller, 2014).

Building thriving communities

Diageo management acknowledges that it can only succeed if it involves the communities within which it works, businesses, as well as agencies, in order to create shared value, thus meeting the SDGs through continual GRI of its activities. Diageo has the responsibility of ensuring that its people, suppliers, and communities around its operations, customers, society, and consumers thrive due to its business (Dagieo, 2019). The company purposes to create shared value by increasing access to various opportunities and addressing challenges related to development such as access to clean water. Secondly, advocating for high governance standards, and supporting farmers, as well as suppliers whilst they create a sustainable value chain (Koutsakis, 2018). Notably, through this, it will be able to meet all the expectations of SDGs come 2030. The company is committed towards measuring and also reporting the progress of these activities in a meaningful and transparent manner whilst achieving the UN global goals (Dagieo, 2017).

Leadership in alcohol in the society

Diageo ensures that alcohol plays a positive role in the society, and as such, it is committed towards tackling its misuse. The industry has implemented 365 drink-driving programmes across the globe and has as well implemented various programmes that aim at contributing towards the reduction of under-age drinking whilst strengthening and expanding the codes of practice for marketing, in order to enhance responsible drinking (Diageo, 2018). Moreover, Diageo supports approximately 300 programs in over 50 countries in enhancing impactful programmes, and these are initiatives going beyond the industry. The impactful programmes aid in addressing harmful drinking. Finally, Diageo has reached out to approximately 1 million adults, in order to enforce training that can impact responsible training. Over the years, Diageo has trained approximately 400,000 drinking ambassadors using various programs and it targets on meeting a target of 1 million by 2020 (Diageo, 2017).

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In conclusion, this report notes that Diageo is working towards addressing various material issues that it faces and also aligns its reports with GRI and SGDs. Diageo has put forth great importance of issues related to the environment, building thriving communities, and leadership in alcohol in the society and these are presented in the materiality mix. Overall, owing to the fact that the company complies with SDGs and GRI, their principles and goals will surely enable Diageo to have a sustainable development by 2020.


  • Chestney, N., & Geller, M. (2014). Diageo sees water as biggest climate issue. Retrieved [online]
  • Dagieo. (2017). Diageo Annual Report 2017. Retrieved [online] from
  • Dagieo. (2019). Our role in society. Retrieved [online] from
  • Diageo. (2018). Diageo Annual Report 2018. Retrieved [online] from
  • GRI (2019). The Global goals for sustainable development. Retrieved [online] from
  • GRI. (2016). Business Reporting on the SDGs. Retrieved [online] from
  • GRI. (2017). GRI and sustainability reporting. Retrieved [online] from
  • GRI. (2018). Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Retrieved [online] from
  • Koutsakis, G. (2018). Global Drinks Brands Bacardi, Chivas Brothers, And Diageo Go 'Green' With New Initiatives. Retrieved [online] from
  • SDGs. (2018). Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved [online] from
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