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Diageo and WaterAid announce new five-year partnership to help transform lives with water, sanitation and hygiene

WaterAid and Diageo (producer of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness), are joining forces in a renewed £4 million, five-year partnership to help transform lives with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene in communities across Diageo’s global supply chains and beyond.

The new commitment, which follows five years of partnership between the beverage giant and the international charity, is part of Diageo’s 10-year action plan, Society 2030: Spirit of Progress, and aims to reach hundreds of thousands of people.
One in ten people –  785 million people – lack access to clean water. The changing climate is causing increasingly severe and extreme weather events, such as floods and drought, impacting water sources and making it more and more challenging for vulnerable communities to access their basic human rights.

Employing climate-resilient and sustainable technologies, the partnership will help protect communities from the growing impacts of climate change on access to clean water and decent sanitation.
Diageo will continue to invest in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to ensure a healthy workforce, and resilience and productivity beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globally, it has been estimated that every dollar invested in clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene returns $5.50 in increased productivity.

Diageo has been one of five leading companies undertaking a pilot research project with WaterAid to cement the Business Case for WASH to encourage other businesses to invest in these basics. The partnership will also support advocacy work to help towards Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to ensure everyone has clean water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030. It also aligns with Diageo’s support as the SDG 61‘Business Avenger’.

Together WaterAid and Diageo will champion the role of WASH within corporate sustainability strategies. They will also encourage increased private sector investment through collective action groups including the Water Resilience Coalition, (a CEO-led initiative of the United Nations Global Compact, which encourages water commitments from leading global companies), and as the Chair and Vice Chair of WASH4Work (a UN-backed initiative to mobilise business to improve access to WASH in the workplace, supply chains and surrounding communities).

Since 2015 Diageo and WaterAid have helped transform the lives of more than 80,000 people in countries across sub-Saharan Africa, such as Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda with WASH.

Diageo also has funded a £200,000 women-led project in Myanmar to provide 10,000 people with access to clean water in households and healthcare facilities and to deliver educational and entrepreneurial opportunities in peri-urban Yangon, where many women migrant workers reside.

Most recently, WaterAid and Diageo have collaborated on the Instagram filter, The Balance Challenge, a user-generated campaign that encourages people to drink in moderation, swapping their next alcoholic drink for water and donating the cost to WaterAid.
Ewan Andrew, Diageo’s Chief Sustainability Officer said:

“For over two decades we’ve been helping transform lives with the provision of clean water and sanitation, a fundamental human right. We are delighted to be renewing this partnership which will help us deliver our Society 2030: Spirit of Progress plan and will enable WaterAid’s vital work to reach many more people for years to come.”

Tim Wainwright, WaterAid’s Chief Executive said:

“Making sure that communities have clean water and decent sanitation is fundamental to their thriving. It helps protect them against the impact of extreme weather and frees women from the drudgery of collecting water to spend that time more productively.

“With one in ten people globally lacking clean water at home and one in four, having no decent toilets, too many people do not enjoy these basic human rights.

“That is why WaterAid is delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with Diageo because they share our vision that everyone, everywhere should have clean water, a decent toilet and good hygiene.”


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