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Diageo has started a programme to phase out the use of 182 million cardboard gift boxes from its Scotch portfolio around the world.

Brands will include Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky, Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky, Buchanan’s Blended Scotch Whisky and Bell’s Original Blended Scotch Whisky.

The phased removal will allow consumer response to be assessed in countries all over the world and, if successful, it will be expanded to more Diageo brands in 2023.

Diageo Chief Sustainability Officer Ewan Andrew said: “Waste caused by surplus packaging is placing an unnecessary burden on the planet.

“Paper and cardboard are highly sustainable forms of packaging but it is time to review what is actually needed to package a product, as opposed to packaging it that way for historical reasons. We believe that the liquid in our premium Scotch products is the gift. They do not always need cardboard gift boxes to enhance this.”

The brand has committed to becoming sustainable by design and has set the ambition to be zero-waste to landfill from its own operations and offices by 2030.

Following the launch of the Johnnie Walker paper-based bottle, Diageo’s sustainable packaging strategy is developing packs for the future including packaging based on biomimicry, designs that will be modelled on biological entities and processes, such as mycelium; and the use of carbon capture in the decorative design of bottles.