Distiller Diageo has pledged to enable the creation of more than eight million bottles of hand sanitiser, by donating two million litres of alcohol to manufacturers amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
The group behind Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff will now provide grain neutral spirit (GNS) to hand sanitiser producers across the world “at no cost” following recent shortages.
The donation of GNS, which is a 96% strength ethyl alcohol , will enable the production of more than eight million 250ml bottles of hand sanitiser.
Diageo said it will continue to engage with national and local governments across the world where it currently has major distilling operations.
It will work alongside authorities and manufacturers to ensure that the spirit is made available in supply chains “according to local circumstances”. This will ensure the donation is used for maximum impact in protecting health workers and patients and that sanitiser reaches the frontline as quickly as possible.
The group said it plans to donate 500,000 litres of GNS to the UK and Republic of Ireland, so that more sanitiser is made available for the NHS and healthcare workers.
Italy will receive 100,000 litres while the USA will receive 500,000 litres to meet local community needs.
Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, said: “Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them.
“This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitiser around the world.”