AN island distillery in Scotland is the first in Europe to meet detailed standards of social and environmental performance and become a certified B Corporation (B Corp).
The rigorous, year-long process saw the Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay win the accolade from the global non-profit certification body B Lab, almost 20 years after it was re-opened by a group of private investors.
Since then it has revolutionised Scottish spirits by leading the foraging movement in gin and re-inventing the Victorian distillery to focus most of its operations on the island.
It produces four different spirits under one roof, including the first Islay dry gin, The Botanist, plus three single malts – Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore.
Bruichladdich is one of nine distilleries on the island and while it is the third smallest producer, it is the largest private employer, with 80 permanent local staff.
Developing their career opportunities, improving benefits packages and training programmes, along with a focus on using local suppliers where possible, are some of the elements involved in it being a community-oriented business.
Looking to the future, the distillery has put a renewed emphasis on their sustainability agenda, which includes the purchase of 30 acres of land, set aside for research and development on sustainable agriculture. It is also on a mission to decarbonise its operations by 2025.
Many beer and wine producers have achieved B Corp certification, but Bruichladdich is the first whisky and gin distillery in Europe, and one of two worldwide, to gain the stamp of commitment to a greater purpose.
“After 15 months of intense work and rigorous examination we stand here, not only as the first single malt Scotch whisky distillery to be B Corp certified, but as the first whisky and gin company in Europe to attain B Corp status,” said chief executive Douglas Taylor.
“I’ve been asked what the benefit is to us, but that’s not important. Being a certified B Corp business is validation that the transparent, sustainable, community minded business we’ve been running since 2001 is a worthwhile project.
“We are excited to now be officially part of a global movement of leaders using business as a force for good, standing shoulder to shoulder, and working together to create a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”