Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business and parent company of Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd (GGBL), has been announced as the overall winner of the This is Africa ‘Beyond Business’ Awards 2012 in the Large Company category.

The awards aim at identifying and rewarding businesses operating in Africa for the additional work they do to further development, by exceeding best sustainable practices. ‘This is Africa’ is a Financial Times publication which explores the economic and political dynamics that are shaping Africa’s growth and the impact these have on businesses operating there.

It recognises that Diageo and many other companies that operate in Africa have taken great strides to further social and economic development in a sustainable manner, often compensating for local administrative deficits by undertaking capacity building, and improving the livelihoods of the people in their working communities. The Beyond Business Awards, in their first year, serve as a pan-regional platform to recognise and celebrate these companies, as well as motivate and inspire businesses in Africa to uphold these ideals and integrate them into their short- and long-term goals.

In Ghana, GGBL was recently awarded the second best company in CSR by the Ghana Investment Promotion Council at the Ghana Club 100 awards in recognition of the company’s continuous effort to enrich lives and empower local communities through its integrated Sustainability and Responsibility agenda.

Between June 2011 and July 2012, GGBL, Diageo, the Diageo Foundation and Diageo’s businesses in North America and Ireland invested GHC 1.2 million in its flagship Water of Life Programme, providing sustainable access to safe drinking water for more than 55,000 Ghanaians. The Company also continues to lead the Alcohol manufacturing industries’ effort in working with government and key stakeholders to shape policies that will reduce alcohol misuse and abuse.

GGBL has also recently been awarded and celebrated across Diageo globally for its sound environmental stewardship. These include the Gold award in Water Conservation – reducing its water usage by 28%, Bronze for Ways of Working – for the way the business responds to environmental issues, Bronze for Waste to Landfill – reducing waste to landfill by 70% and Bronze for Carbon emission – reducing emissions by 33%.

On winning the Global Sustainability award, Nick Blazquez, President, Diageo Africa, said, “This award brings with it the recognition that within the private sector, Diageo leads by example when it comes to doing business sustainably. Diageo believes that doing good is good for business. All of our investments contribute to building a sustainable business and by so doing contribute significantly to the communities in which we operate. Diageo is able to demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship, supply chain management, agricultural development, community development and good governance.”

Diageo was selected out of 31 final contenders from a list of approximately 1,200 companies in Africa or operating on the continent. Each company was asked to fill in a questionnaire, covering four broad topics on Environment & Resource Management, CSR & Developmental Impact, Employee & Supply Chain Management and Corporate Policy. Five judges marked each submission and the Overall Winner was determined by the company that had the highest aggregate score.

Some of Diageo’s key initiatives are detailed below:

. Diageo has actively supported 200 projects since 2006 that provide access to safe drinking water for people in Africa with a goal of reaching eight million people by 2015.

• Diageo employs over 6,000 people in Africa, equal to 1 in 4 employees in Diageo globally. Diageo’s people are critical to its success and the company invests in developing skills, building capabilities and embedding leadership standards. Diageo fosters an inclusive, supportive environment where all its employees are valued, recognised and supported in reaching their full potential.

• As the world’s premium drinks business, Diageo takes a leadership position in promoting responsible consumption and marketing its products responsibly. Diageo is committed to helping its employees understand the nature and effects of alcohol through communication and awareness programmes.

• Diageo sits on a World Economic Forum taskforce to share best practice for maximising the impact of the private sector on local sustainable development, whether that is connecting smallholder farmers with large, dependable, commercial markets or further developing strategic partnerships so as to make an even greater impact on the livelihoods of people living in vulnerable communities across the continent.

• Diageo applies rigorous international standards to governance, defining industry-leading codes for marketing, actively promoting and protecting human rights and freedoms in all aspects of the business. Diversity is valued and celebrated throughout Diageo’s businesses across Africa creating an open, empowering and safe working environment for all.

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