One of Scotland’s leading whisky producers has cut its carbon footprint by 90 per cent at a Highland distillery.

John Dewar & Sons, part of the Bacardi group, installed a biomass boiler at its Aberfeldy site late last year and says the results are pointing the way for the industry.

Iain Lochhead, operations director, said: “Traditionally, distilleries are heavy users of fossil fuel – and that’s not good for the environment. We had many ideas for reducing fossil fuel usage and explored several options, but we settled on a biomass boiler.”

He added: “We estimate that under the current production schedule, we will reduce our carbon emissions from fossil fuel sources by up to six thousand tons per year of carbon dioxide at the Aberfeldy distillery.”

John Dewar employs 300 at seven locations including malt whisky distilleries at Macduff, Aultmore, Craigellachie and Nairn, an ageing, blending, bottling and packaging site in Glasgow, and maturation facilities at Poniel in central Scotland.

It says the biomass project is part of a broader sustainability initiative.

Its five distilleries have achieved reductions of 34 percent in greenhouse gas emissions since 2006, 46 percent in water use since 2009, and 30 per cent in waste to landfill since 2010.

David Williamson, public affairs director for the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “Investment in biomass marks a sea change in the industry approach. Moving away from boilers that use heavy fuel oil – to more efficient wood pellets – helps reduce energy costs and lower emissions into the environment. So we develop the industry as we nurture local surroundings and deliver a sustainable industry.”