Watt: 'Companies fighting climate change not going to get everything right'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Insanely disappointing: BrewDog CEO hits back at claims Lost Forest project is 'doomed' (Pictured: Watt and co-founder Martin Dickie)
Insanely disappointing: BrewDog CEO hits back at claims Lost Forest project is 'doomed' (Pictured: Watt and co-founder Martin Dickie)

Related tags Brewdog Social responsibility Climate change Legislation

BrewDog CEO James Watt has hit back at claims the firm’s reforestation project has been “doomed”.

In a post shared to LinkedIn today (Monday 22 April), Watt said​ media headlines regarding the initiative’s recent update had been “insanely disappointing”.

Last week the CEO announced BrewDog’s​ Lost Forest project, tasked with planting trees in the Scottish Highlands in a bid to help combat climate change, saw 500,000 trees planted in partnership with Scottish Woodlands last year, the first to be put in the ground.

Extreme conditions 

However, Watt​ added the project had faced challenges due “extreme weather conditions” and that around 50% of the baby saplings did not survive the first 12-months, though he went on to explain more than 30% had already been replaced.

The CEO further claimed the Lost Forest, which started in 2020 when BrewDog purchased the 9,308-acre plot of land with the help of Government grants, had also already “restored thousands of acres of peatland”.

Following the update, the Scottish brewer was slammed in the press, with the Scottish Daily Express stating the initiative was “doomed” after the loss of the trees “despite begin given public money for the scheme”.

Other headlines included describing the project as an “epic fail” and being “lost in tatters”.

Torn apart 

Yet in the post shared today, Watt said the firm was “investing tens of millions to help fight climate change” but had been “torn apart” for something that was out of its control and was being rectified.

He continued: “I really worry about the implications for sustainability here. Companies who try and take on this fight, are never going to get everything right every single time.
“If normal parts of the sustainability process are weaponised and sensationalised by the press and used to attack companies trying to do the right thing the net result will simply be less and less companies being willing to take a stand against climate change. And that, sadly, will be a tragedy for everyone.
“At BrewDog, thankfully we are pretty used to the noise, we are going to tune it out and continue with our steadfast commitment to doing all we can from a sustainability perspective.”

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