Green-fingered Scotch whisky workers have descended on Balloch to help protect and restore the area’s nature and biodiversity.

The enthusiastic team from Chivas Brothers' Kilmalid plant in Dumbarton recently took to several sites in the area, lending their time to helping revitalise and enhance the area’s natural beauty.

Volunteers’ efforts came as part of an annual initiative organised by Chivas Brothers’ parent company, Pernod Ricard.

The organisation’s tenth annual Responsib’All Day is a global event that sees 18,500 Pernod Ricard employees around the world dedicate a day to learning, sharing and having a positive and meaningful impact in their communities.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Staff from Chivas Brothers enjoyed a day in the open air working to restore nature and biodiversityStaff from Chivas Brothers enjoyed a day in the open air working to restore nature and biodiversity

Liam Donegan, manufacturing director at Chivas Brothers, led a team in Himalayan balsam and rhododendron removal, as well as tree and wildflower planting at Balloch Castle.

Balsam and rhododendron are invasive species that erode riverbanks, whilst the planting of trees facilitates carbon absorption, and wildflowers provide food for pollinators and insects as well as food for birds and small mammals during the winter.

Liam and the team also joined charity partner Frog Life at Balloch Courtyard, where they improved the current habitat by creating a pond from a stream, planting native wildflowers to enhance biodiversity, and removing overgrown vegetation in an old tree nursery woodland.

Liam commented: “It was wonderful to be a part of Responsib’All Day after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The team came together and we were able to play a small part in protecting the wonderful nature and biodiversity we have here in Scotland, which is of utmost importance as part of Pernod Ricard’s sustainability goals.”

Among the other local businesses to benefit was Ardoch Loch Lomond Ltd, which the Chivas team attended as part of efforts to remove plastics around newly planted coppices, and invasive species from wetlands.

They also tended to the gardens at Robin House Children’s Hospice (CHAS) and removed plastics and foreign objects from the shore at Portnellan Farm on the banks of Loch Lomond.

Restoring nature

In total, Pernod Ricard employees in the UK donated more than 3,200 hours to nine projects across Scotland dedicated to improving communities through protecting and restoring nature and biodiversity.

Jean-Etienne Gourgues, CEO and chairman of Chivas Brothers, commented: “Responsib’All Day is a demonstration of our commitment to having a positive impact on the places we call home and inspire others to take a positive action.

"With over 1,000 employees in the UK uniting under the common goal of making a difference through protecting nature and biodiversity, we can have a huge impact.

“From the hills of Speyside to the centre of London we are one team working together to build a better future.”