Member Spotlight: Michael WilsonMarch 29, 2019 | BIER
Name: Michael Wilson, Global Environmental Sustainability Director
Connect with Michael Wilson on LinkedIn
Which of your company’s sustainability initiatives/achievements are you most proud of?
I’m fortunate to be working for a company that has been absolutely committed to the sustainability agenda. As an environmental team working across the business, we are all proud of the progress Diageo has made against our sustainability commitments, including carbon emissions reductions, water efficiency improvement, waste, wastewater, energy, packaging, et cetera. In a 10-year period, we’ve had a 40% improvement in water use efficiency and reduced absolute emissions by a similar amount, and a majority of the water has been conserved in water-stressed areas around the world. Consequently, local communities where we operate benefit as a direct result of the work we do in these areas. It is very easy to wake up in the morning and begin the day by tackling these challenges when the rewards are having this kind of impact. There are a plethora of sustainability commitments that we have worked towards for the past decade. Our sustainability targets were refreshed in 2015 with a new time commitment to deliver by 2020, and as of 2018, we are certainly going in the right direction.
What is your favorite practical insight you have gained from being in BIER?
Learning from others – it’s never too late! Over the last four to five years of being involved with BIER, I have learned and gained invaluable insight and experiences from other members in our industry. The challenges, discussions, barriers, and lessons that members openly offer and share provide significant value and a sense that we’re not encountering these obstacles in isolation—having that fuller appreciation for what’s happening in other member companies on the same agenda is very beneficial.
How has being in BIER shaped your sustainability strategy/enriched your sustainability strategy?
I think the remarkable work that other members are pursuing provides a great reference point and challenge for us to do more. The benchmarking study offers compelling insights to shape and formulate our own environmental commitments for the future. The degree of openness that everyone brings to these forums creates a rapport that enables us to share non-competitive information in a very open and transparent way.
What area(s) of BIER’s work and the working group initiatives are you most interested in? Why?
The two areas I find most interesting are the Technology Working Group and basin collaborations. The Technology Working Group is at an early stage in the journey, but I certainly believe that there is much more to be gleaned from this initiative—innovation and the application of new technology will become more central in the realization of environmental sustainability targets. Basin collaboration work under the Water Working Group is also of interest, as it provides an impressive piece of work that will further demonstrate the member’s ability to collaborate on a common agenda.
What’s one cool thing people might not know about you or your company?
Diageo has brands that are hundreds of years old, and just a few months old–we cover the full spectrum!
The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector.