The Scotch whisky industry has today launched a diversity and inclusivity charter in a bid to improve equal opportunities across the sector.
The charter has been developed by trade body the Scotch Whisky Association and underscores its commitment to diversity across the industry’s global workforce.
Ironically, the launch comes following a week in which there was a social media row about sexism in a leading industry guide.
Jim Murray was described as the “Donald Trump of whisky” for “objectifying women” in his Whisky Bible publication
Becky Paskin, the former editor of scotchwhisky.com took Murray to task for comments in the publication which is stocked in many distillery shops.
In all Paskin claims there are 34 references in the publication to whisky being “sexy.”
Paskin asked why the industry still held held Murray’s book in such high regard “when his views are so sexist and vulgar.”
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.
SWA chief executive Karen Betts, said: “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.
“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.”
She went on: “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.”
Scott McCroskie, Chairman of the SWA Council and chief executive of distiller 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.”