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Supporting local interests and infrastructure

The interests and needs of our local communities vary around the world. What is important to stakeholders in Indonesia, for example, will be different in Ireland, and we have a flexible approach to support the diversity of local interests.

Our approach

In addition to our longer-term flagship community investment programmes, we encourage our local markets and brand teams to contribute to locally relevant causes. This includes donations to local organisations, employee volunteer projects and investing in local infrastructure.

Brand activity

Our brands champion a variety of social and environmental causes in order to engage consumers while building their brands. For example, Talisker hosted a rowing race to raise over £2 million for charities. Johnnie Walker’s new ultra premium innovation, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Edition, will donate all profits to the Queen’s charities. Read more about investments by our brands in the customers and consumers section.

Local giving and disaster relief

Diageo local businesses support a variety of projects and local causes. These range from the Helping Hands programme in Australia that has donated more than $800,000 (£506,000) to charity partners over the last eight years; to Beaulieu Vineyard’s Give and Give Back programme to help provide more than 1 million meals to US hunger relief charities; to our commitment in the United Kingdom to match fundraising by local employees.

We also support communities affected by disasters. After a terrible year in 2011 with major disasters affecting many of the regions in which we operate, this year saw fewer disasters, although floods in Thailand and the Philippines were devastating to those regions.


The death toll for Thailand’s worst flooding in more than half a century passed 600. Our employees in Thailand responded immediately and created the Watermark brand for Thailand to deliver a multi-pronged response programme with the help of £55,000 in funding from our business in the region and from the Diageo Foundation. They donated 20,000 bottles of drinking water, supplied emergency relief items and distributed 3,000 relief packs with support from Habitat for Humanity, the Thai Army and local communities, providing urgent help to over 4,500 families in affected areas.

The Johnnie Walker Keep Walking Project helped to build six mushroom farms supporting 50 households across 12 villages in the district of Nakhon Pathom to help communities restore their livelihoods quickly. They are working together to find good distribution channels to generate profits from the mushrooms. We are also planning to help certain communities become more resilient in the face of similar disasters through reconstruction projects including water tanks, an evacuation centre and a local school.

The Philippines

Diageo contributed £25,000 to the Philippines Red Cross when floods devastated the southern cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro as a result of Typhoon Washi.


Following the 2010 Christmas floods in Queensland, the Bunderberg Distilling Company invested almost £57,000 to purchase a flood water rescue boat for the Local State Emergency Services of Queensland, which was handed over earlier this year.

United States

In August 2011, Hurricane Irene caused the worst flooding, wind and power cuts of recent memory in the country. Diageo North America responded quickly. The Relay plant and Norwalk office were without power for up to 36 hours. Diageo’s Spirit of the Americas crisis team delivered over 7,500 gallons of Diageo’s bottled water to communities in Connecticut, New York and Vermont and provided a generator to keep the power on at an old people’s home.

Giving for Good

Giving for Good enables us to engage employees who are dispersed geographically but want to feel part of an employee-led community programme. A web-based campaign, it was set up in collaboration with the Diageo Foundation so that each year employees can directly support a carefully researched, sustainable community project in one of our emerging markets. The website also provides advice and support for employees’ fundraising activities. Each year Giving for Good focuses on a different community project. This year we completed our roll-out of the water filter programme in Africa, donating water filter kits to schools and health clinics in Ghana.

Local infrastructure

Sometimes we can meet a business need by investing in local infrastructure, which has a much wider benefit to the community. In Nigeria, for example, we built a new road to connect our production and distribution site in Nigeria to the main Lagos road networks.

Thalidomide Trust legacy commitment

Our community investment figures include £8.1 million (2011 – £7.7 milllion) to the Thalidomide Trust and £1.5 million (2011 – £3.0 million) to The Thalidomide Foundation Ltd in Australia in support of a legacy commitment. Thalidomide is a drug which was distributed in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand by the pharmaceutical subsidiary of the Distillers Company Limited (DCL). It was withdrawn after side effects of the drug on unborn children were discovered. In 1986, Guinness acquired DCL and in 1997 merged with Grand Metropolitan to become Diageo. We therefore inherited this commitment from DCL. We are working voluntarily with thalidomide organisations, including making contributions to the Thalidomide Trust in the United Kingdom and to The Thalidomide Australia Fixed Trust in Australia.

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