The Scotch Whisky Association Commits To Embracing Diversity And Inclusivity

The Scotch Whisky Association Commits To Embracing Diversity And Inclusivity alexander-popov-2GNBoMgKYEo-unsplash

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is launching a Diversity and Inclusivity Charter to help the Scotch Whisky industry embrace equal opportunities for all.

Developed by the SWA and its members, which represent 97% of the entire Scotch whisky industry, the Charter underscores the industry’s commitment to improving equal opportunities across the sector and ensuring the industry embraces diversity in all its forms across its global workforce. The Charter sets a series of minimum benchmarks for all SWA member companies to meet and sets a clear path for companies – large and small – to work together to ensure that the Charter commitments are fulfilled.

These include:

  • Having one member of the senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for diversity and inclusion
  • Reviewing internal practices and policies to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities
  • Improving gender diversity at all levels of the business
  • Ensuring transparency and fairness within recruitment practices, engaging more diverse and inclusive search practices to support efforts in building a diverse talent pool
  • Signing up to the DWP’s Disability Confident scheme
  • Supporting the Scotch Whisky Rainbow Network
  • Addressing websites’ accessibility to identify and overcome shortcomings

“The Scotch Whisky industry is launching our Diversity and Inclusivity Charter today, doubling down on our commitment to actively welcome people from all backgrounds to work in our companies,” said Chief Executive of the SWA Karen Betts. “Scotch Whisky is hugely diverse in itself, with our vast range of whiskies coming from all shapes and sizes of distilleries across the four corners of Scotland. Through the Charter, we are underscoring our commitment to attract a wide range of people to work for the industry in Scotland and around the world at all levels and at all stages in their careers.  Our goal is to ensure that our workforce is as diverse as our whiskies and the people who enjoy them.

“The Charter is just the start of the conversation. Many of our member companies are already engaging in a range of activities and programmes to improve diversity and inclusion, from flexible hours, to parental leave, mental wellbeing initiatives, and embracing new recruitment processes.  What the Charter will now do is foster collaboration between our companies, so everyone can learn from each other’s experiences and ensure we can move forward step by step, positively and collectively, on this important journey.”

Cabinet Secretary of the Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government is committed to making Scotland a Fair Work Nation by 2025 which means that we aim to embed diversity and inclusion in every sector of Scotland’s economy. This Charter demonstrates that Scotland’s iconic whisky industry is providing a fine example for businesses in Scotland and further afield to follow.     

“The commitment to embrace diversity will open up opportunities in the sector for skilled people from under-represented groups and it will encourage new business opportunities, customers and markets. The Charter supports the very best of Scotland’s ambitions to be a fair and inclusive society and economy. I welcome it wholeheartedly.”

Scott McCroskie, Chairman of the SWA Council and Chief Executive of Edrington, said: “The launch of the Diversity and Inclusivity Charter is an important statement of intent from the Scotch Whisky industry to ensure the sector is a representative and welcoming place to build a career. Business decisions are stronger when a diverse range of voices have the opportunity to feed in, so the Charter is also vital to the continued strength of the industry. I look forward to working alongside the SWA and fellow member companies to fulfil the commitments outlined in the Charter, and fuel the Scotch Whisky industry’s success in the long term.”

Find the Scotch Whisky industry’s Diversity and Inclusivity Charter here.