Sustainable Spirits:  Cardrona Distillery’s Climate Action Commitment

Cardrona Distillery, nestled in the picturesque Cardrona Valley, is becoming known not only for crafting top-tier spirits but also for its commitment to sustainability. As part of the Climate Action Initiative (CAI) programme, Cardrona Distillery’s journey showcases the potential of businesses of any size or complexity to drive meaningful change in reducing their environmental impact.



Developed by WAO Aotearoa in collaboration with Environmental Accounting Services, the CAI programme is gaining traction in the Queenstown Lakes District. Backed by the Queenstown Lakes District Council, Destination Queenstown, and Lake Wanaka Tourism, the initiative aims to address greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from small businesses, by providing a clear understanding of the need to reduce emissions and facilitating effective decarbonisation efforts.

The CAI programme offers fully funded workshops and accessible materials, designed to eliminate barriers to entry for businesses that meet specific criteria. These workshops serve as capacity-building events, tailored to align climate action with each business’s identity and objectives, setting the stage for embracing decarbonisation principles.

Shane Woonton, Supply Chain Director of Cardrona Distillery, emphasises the importance of understanding their carbon footprint for future planning. “We are in the process of planning for the next 10 years. The guiding vision includes sustainability goals, and part of that is understanding where we are right now… Once you have those conversations and agree on what is in the carbon footprint, it’s really quite straightforward.”

Cardrona Distillery’s dedication to sustainability has been evident since its establishment seven years ago. Situated in the stunning Cardrona Valley, the distillery’s operations seamlessly blend with the natural landscape. With innovative insulation techniques, efficient water use, and resource repurposing, the distillery’s eco-conscious approach underscores the harmony between nature and craftsmanship.

Through the CAI programme, more than 30 small businesses in the Queenstown Lakes District have actively engaged in reporting and reducing their emissions. The collaborative workshops foster camaraderie among participants, collectively addressing the challenge’s scale. Beyond its immediate impact, the initiative has sparked a broader movement within the local business community, embedding decarbonisation in long-term planning for events and destination management.

The CAI programme’s success underscores the Queenstown Lakes District’s commitment to transformative change. Over 60 small businesses are anticipating the programme’s next iteration, reflecting a steadfast commitment to embracing emissions reporting and championing sustainable practices.

As Cardrona Distillery and other local businesses continue to take proactive steps, the Queenstown Lakes District is poised to set an example for sustainable business practices on the global stage.

For more information about Cardrona Distillery and their participation in the Climate Action Initiative programme, visit

To learn more about the Climate Action Initiative, please visit and .

Sign up for the latest news and insights