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Reducing our operating footprint

Reducing our operating footprint


Highland Park Distillery Gates


At Highland Park, we have set the target of becoming net zero by 2045. It’s an ambitious journey for a 225-year-old Orcadian distillery but we are rising to the challenge.

Our immediate focus is a near-term goal to reduce our full-scope emissions by 50% by 2030. To achieve this goal, we will engage with our key suppliers and partners to map and reduce our scope 3 emissions. We will also reduce our direct emissions by continuing to drive energy and resource efficiencies across all our operations and by establishing initiatives to lower emissions from specific elements of our distillation processes.

Current operations at the Highland Park Distillery rely on three fossil fuel sources to produce our whisky – coke, kerosene and peat. Below we outline our approaches to removing, transitioning from, and reducing our use of these sources over time, and in line with our 2030 and 2045 goals.


  • We currently use coke – a coal-based fuel with a high carbon content – to dry our malt.
  • By 2024, we will have removed coke from our processes by replacing it with a heat recovery system.
  • This system allows us to recover heat from the condensers we use in our distillation process and redirect that heat for use elsewhere across our operations and buildings.
  • Scheduled for completion in 2024, this heat recovery system will help us to realise a 20% reduction in our direct scope 1 & 2 emissions and remove coke entirely from our fuel sources.


  • As there is no natural gas grid supply to Orkney, most premises across the islands rely on shipments of kerosene to fuel domestic heating systems and business operations. 
  • At the Distillery, many of our current processes – from our general heating system to steam creation and our cleaning and washing systems – rely on kerosene. Recognising the need to transition to a cleaner fuel source, we are actively reviewing the feasibility of viable alternatives.
  • This type of transition means we must consider a broad range of issues around emissions reduction potential, island-specific logistics, planning permissions and capital investment requirements.
  • Although complex, we are working towards identifying conclusive recommendations for our business in 2024.


  • We source the peat we use to smoke our barley from an area of Hobbister Moor located approximately seven miles west of our distillery in Kirkwall, Orkney. Rich in heather, this peat creates complex floral aromas in our kilns, delivering the distinctive sweet smoky flavours only found in Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky.
  • Hobbister Nature Reserve is a mosaic of internationally and nationally important habitats including saltmarsh, sea cliffs and peatlands. We own and manage this land under license from Orkney Islands Council and we work in close collaboration with the RSPB for the benefit of wildlife, including red-listed species such as Hen Harrier and Curlew. As such we are required to operate in accordance with the strict regulations associated with nature reserve designation that Hobbister Moor has held for almost 50 years.
  • The Scotch Whisky Association’s Commitment to Responsible Peat Use (CRPU) Strategy sets out a framework to ensure that all its members are actively engaged in developing and delivering plans for the responsible management of peat use and restoration of peatlands, and we adhere closely to that.
  • Read more about our peat reduction, extraction and restoration work to date.

Environmental Sustainability

October 04, 2023