Diageo donates 2m litres of alcohol to tackle hand sanitiser shortage

Diageo, maker of alcohol brands Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, will be donating up to two million litres of alcohol to manufacturing partners. The donation is to enable the partners to create more than eight million bottles of hand sanitiser, which will be used to help protect frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.

Diageo said it will be making the alcohol it provides available at no cost to hand sanitiser producers in multiple countries, to help overcome shortages in healthcare systems. Some of the countries include Australia, India, Italy, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Diageo said it will be working with national and local governments, as well as relevant local authorities and hand sanitiser manufacturers across the countries, to ensure the donation is used for maximum impact in protecting health workers and patients and that sanitiser reaches the front-line as quickly as possible. 

Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, said it is determined to do what it can to help protect healthcare workers at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. “This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitiser around the world," he added.

Diageo is not the only company to lend a helping hand in the fight against COVID-19. Last week in France, within 72 hours of the French government calling for help to fill the gaps of crucial medical supplies for COVID-19, leading luxury brand LVMH took on the task of producing approximately 12 tonnes of hand sanitisers and distributing them free of charge to French health authorities. The project was launched under the orders of chief executive Bernard Arnault who instructed the LVMH Perfumes and Cosmetics business to leverage its factories for the production of these products.

Facebook has also said it will be committing US$20 million to the UN Foundation, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the CDC Foundation in a bid to tackle COVID-19. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said recently that Facebook is matching up to US$10 million in donations to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO and 100% of funds will directly support the work to prevent, detect and respond to the outbreak worldwide.

Meanwhile closer to home in Malaysia, PETRONAS is contributing RM20 million worth of medical equipment and supplies to help hospitals and healthcare front-liners to tackle the spread of the virus. This is done via its CSR arm Yayasan PETRONAS. In Singapore, brands have also showed their support for healthcare workers last month. Burger King Singapore gave away free burgers to the medical staff at National University Hospital through its branch at Kent Ridge Centre, while Grab introduced a dedicated, round-the-clock, on-demand service called GrabCare to enable healthcare professionals to travel to and from hospitals. Additionally, private property developer Far East Organisation also said in a CNA article that it will provide 200 packets of food to NUH and Tan Tock Seng Hospital each day for four days in the month.

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