Chivas Brothers announced new agriculture programme supporting sustainable farming practices

A Scotch whisky producer partners with Scottish barley growers, fostering sharing and collaboration to reduce its carbon footprint and help building future of the industry. 

Chivas Brothers announced a new agriculture programme supporting sustainable farming practices, collaborating with Bairds Malt and Scotgrain. 

Chivas Brothers, the Pernod Ricard business dedicated to Scotch whisky and makers of Chivas Regal and Aberlour, has just announced a new agriculture programme supporting sustainable farming practices among Scottish barley growers represented by Bairds Malt and Scotgrain. 

The pilot programme is a collaboration between Chivas Brothers, Bairds Malt, a malt producer for the brewing and distilling industry in the UK and internationally, and Scotgrain, an agricultural merchant covering the supply of arable inputs, agronomy, procurement and marketing of grains, oilseeds and pulses. 

Helping future-proof livelihoods of Scottish farmers

A Chivas Brothers spokesperson said that the partnership has been established with a view to working collaboratively to facilitate and further the continuous improvement on farm, and to help future-proof the livelihoods of farmers in regional Scottish communities. 

It is also intended to help secure the supply of barley, which is a critical ingredient in the whisky-making process, and reduce Chivas Brothers’ indirect carbon footprint. 

Roughly a third of Chivas Brothers’ carbon footprint comes from the growing and processing of its agricultural raw materials, including the manufacturing of fertiliser, production of barley and malting. 

On-farm trials

Chivas Brothers is one of the biggest purchasers of malted barley in Scotland, the majority of which it sources from Bairds Malt, underscoring the significance of this project and Chivas Brothers’ responsibility to the industry to invest in sustainability trials, research and information transfer. 

The pilot programme, named the ‘Dalmunach Growers Pilot Group’, will run over a three- to five-year period and is initially comprised of eight farmers who have voluntarily elected to be a part of the first on-farm trial.  

In addition to carbon emissions reduction, trials will cover various approaches, both to improvements in soil health and to create a more resilient growing process and biodiversity, from fertiliser use and cover-cropping to wildflower strips. 

Working together makes us stronger 

Ronald Daalmans, environmental sustainability manager at Chivas Brothers, said that establishing partnerships with the growers represents a “critical moment” in Chivas Brothers’ sustainability journey.  

“The ongoing impact of climate change means our growers are having to adapt their practices – and many are faced with tough decisions regarding sustainable practices because it is cost prohibitive to implement new techniques without certainty of how they’ll affect crops through the growing cycle.  

“Working together makes us stronger – not only to reduce carbon emissions at pace, but also to provide invaluable insights that can benefit the farming community at large,” he concluded. 

Victoria Buxton, agronomist and farm business manager at Bairds Malt, added: “We’re incredibly excited to have partnered with Chivas Brothers to establish a programme with our growers that looks at sustainable farming practices through on-farm carbon reduction, soil health and biodiversity.  

“To have the support of Chivas Brothers reinforces that climate change is an issue that affects the whole supply chain, and we’re all equally invested.” 

Learnings and insights will be shared with the full cohort of roughly sixty farmers under the Bairds Malt and Scotgrain communities at regular Growers Group meetings, fostering knowledge-sharing for the betterment of the programme and each other’s operations. 

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