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Chivas Brothers launches new sustainability partnership to give back to the rivers that help make its Scotch

Gina

3/22/2024 11:04:36 AM

Sustainability

4 mins read

The Scotch whisky producer announces its partnership with three River Trusts to improve the health of rivers and waterways in Scotland  

 

Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky business of Pernod Ricard and maker of global Scotch whisky brands including The Glenlivet and Aberlour, today unveils a new, long-term programme to preserve, protect and improve the health of some of Scotland’s iconic rivers and waterways.  

 

The partnership, called ‘The River Within’, is a collaboration between Chivas Brothers and The Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust, Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Rivers Trust, and the Spey Catchment Initiative. Chivas Brothers’ investment will help protect and restore the select waterways within the Trusts’ combined catchment areas in North-East Scotland – a total of 5,566 km21, some of which flows through Chivas Brothers-owned land – by focusing on enhancing biodiversity, limiting rises to water temperature from climate change and strengthening the longer-term resilience of the rivers. 

 

This partnership is important not just for Scotland’s natural landscapes, but also its heritage industries. Currently 34%2 of Scotland’s rivers are in compromised ecological health, meaning by the end of this century as a result of climate change, they could face three times as many droughts and up to 40% more flooding, threatening the diversity of life in and around the waterways.3 Yet waterways are a vital source of life for Scotland’s rich wildlife, as well as a key component and ingredient of whisky making, which depends on the health of the nation’s rivers, banks, burns and springs. 

 

Julie Gallacher, Head of Sustainability & Responsibility at Chivas Brothers, said: “Scotland’s waterways are the lifeblood of whisky production, so while we use this precious resource responsibly, returning 96% of what we use to its source, we like to think there’s a ‘river within’ each bottle. Many of our distilleries are built on the banks of treasured Scottish rivers and it’s from these waters that our renowned whiskies are endowed with their unique spirit, essence and even their names. 
“Just as we rely on the rivers, the rivers rely on us. The art of whisky making is a delicate balance, so too is the Scottish landscape in which we craft it. That is why we are proud to launch this partnership with the three River Trusts to protect and build a resilient networkof Scottish rivers and riverbanks that support biodiversity forgenerations to come.” 
Richard Miller, Director at The Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust, commented: 
“Many of the species Scotland is known for and their habitats are currently facing unprecedented challenges. One of these is the Atlantic Salmon which was recently reclassified by the IUCN from ‘least concern’ to ‘endangered’ in Great Britain.  
“We are delighted to be a partner in ‘The River Within’ programme which will provide essential resources to ensure Deveron fish stocks have free access to cold, clean, water. This will be achieved by removing obstacles to fish passage, creation of 3D buffer strips along field margins, riparian planting, fish refuge creation and habitat restoration. We very much look forward to working with Chivas Brothers on this new and exciting project.” 
Bob Laughton, Director at Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Rivers Trust, commented:  
“We are delighted to welcome this new partnership with Chivas Brothers, and the support it will provide towards our nature recovery ambitions for our river catchments. The aims of ‘The River Within’ are closely aligned with the work on our new flagship project, the Findhorn Watershed Initiative. Chivas Brothers’ support will ensure riparian woodland and river restoration schemes that are currently in development are resourced, helping them to be turned into reality and delivered on the ground.  
“We have been impressed by the leadership being demonstrated by Chivas Brothers and Pernod Ricard in committing significant investment to support the health and resilience of our rivers and look forward to working with them over the years to come.” 
Roger Knight, Chief Executive at the Spey Catchment Initiative, commented: 
“Spey Catchment Initiative are delighted to join forces with Chivas Brothers in this groundbreaking partnership, 'The River Within'. This collaboration marks a significant step towards safeguarding and enhancing the vitality of the Spey catchment’s rivers and waterways, which are not only crucial for our native wildlife but also for the communities that live alongside them and industries that thrive because of them. 
 
“Through this exciting partnership, we are poised to implement targeted projects that will not only address immediate concerns, such as biodiversity enhancement and climate change mitigation, but also ensure the long-term resilience and health of our rivers.” 
 

A range of specific waterway projects are currently being developed in close partnership with the three River Trusts, to commence later this year. These will focus on direct activity along riverbanks and waterways designed to help increase biodiversity and overall health of the river ecosystem. This in turn will help limit the rise of water temperatures, restore floodplain resilience and increase river security. For example, simple practical interventions such as planting new trees along rivers can provide additional shade that helps limit river temperature rises and strengthen riverbanks. 

 

Water stewardship is a critical part of Chivas Brothers’ vision to shape the future of sustainable Scotch. In line with its commitment to preserving and restoring water resources, the company continually monitors water consumption and implements new solutions such as water-cooling technology throughout its operations to prevent waste. 

 

To learn more about the threats facing our waterways, please visit [www.chivasbrothers.com/theriverwithin]. 

 

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