Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) launched Diversity and Inclusivity Charter

A commitment to equal opportunities in the whisky industry

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), trade body for the Scottish whisky industry, has developed a Diversity and Inclusivity Charter, which will be presented this week at various SWA events. The aim of the charter is to ensure equal opportunities for all employees in the whisky industry regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, age or sexual orientation. By defining minimum benchmarks, a clear path should be established that large and small companies should follow in order to recognize and protect the diversity of their workforce.

“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,“said Karen Betts, Chief Executive of SWA. „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.”

The whisky industry is following a path that the Scottish government has taken and is pushing for its entire economy. 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.“

The latest sensational publications in the media about numerous sexist formulations by Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible give the charter a special status. Numerous spirits companies had distanced themselves from Murray and his bible in response to the allegations of sexism.

The Diversity and Inclusivity Charter can be found here on the SWA homepage.