Beam Suntory has collaborated with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) as part of the second phase of its US$4 million Peatland Water Sanctuary (PWS) project.
In October last year, Beam Suntory and its parent company, Suntory Holdings, pledged more than US$4m to restore 1,300 hectares of peatlands by 2030.
The first phase of the scheme saw the company work to restore and conserve peatland near the Ardmore distillery in November 2021, which resulted in approximately 13 hectares of peatland restored in partnership with the James Hutton Institute and Forestry and Land Scotland.
To mark the second phase of the conservation project, Beam Suntory will contribute more than £400,000 (US$458,960) to restore and regenerate approximately 160 hectares of peatland at the Airds Moss reserve in East Ayrshire, which is owned by RSPB Scotland. The restoration will take more than four years.
The first year will involve extensive fieldwork, including completing surveys and analysis to design a restoration plan. Physical labour is expected for winter 2023, when work will be carried out to re-establish original peatland vegetation to promote the regeneration of peat.
Alistair Longwell, head of distillation and environment, Beam Suntory, said: “We’re now a year in since launching our PWS initiative and it’s rewarding to be using our accumulating knowledge and expertise to make a significant impact to Scotland’s ecosystems.
“Working across the Airds Moss Reserve in partnership with RSPB Scotland represents a great step forward in our goal to restore 1,300 hectares of peatland by 2030.”
At Beam Suntory’s Islay distillery Laphroaig, the company recently ran a peatland restoration training event, which will be rolled out across other sites in Scotland.
Robbie Millar, managing director Scotch and Irish, Beam Suntory, said: As the home of our iconic Scotch whiskies, including Bowmore, Laphroaig and Auchentoshan, we are committed to helping to build a prosperous future for Scotland.
“This means working both within and beyond our own distillery sites, partnering with local communities and organisations like RSPB Scotland to drive initiatives like Peatland Water Sanctuary, and set higher targets to protect our natural environments.”
The company’s long-term aim is to restore sufficient peatlands by 2040 to equate twice the volume of peat that Beam Suntory uses.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers