SWA members joined chief executive Colin Smith, SWA Council members and SWA’s public affairs colleague Margaret Smith on a specially convened deposit return scheme online conference call on Tuesday, 5th November.

Colin Smith reported back on the SWA’s involvement within the Deposit Return Scheme Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) to date, as well as seeking a clear mandate from members on the next steps required to secure the best possible DRS for the wholesale sector.

Members were also given an overview of DRS and the implications for wholesalers. This is a critical time for the scheme design as both the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government have been consulting on DRS.

Members were asked their views on certain key elements and what the SWA’s future demands of Scottish Government and the ECCLR Committee should be.

The outcomes of this included:

  • SWA will continue to pursue a seat on the board of the DRS scheme administrator (SA). Currently this seat is not an option, as laid out in existing proposals. That’s despite the fact that the SA will certainly make decisions in the future that will have a major impact on our industry but without our input or voice being heard.
  • SWA should continue to seek compensation (handling fee/recompense/grant) for costs incurred by wholesalers in implementing DRS. Having a seat on the board would facilitate this discussion but is not the overwhelming reason for securing this seat.
  • Members should support SWA’s call for the above, through input into SWA’s Scottish Government DRS Consultation that closes 10/12/19 and by inviting local MSPs to meet both at member depots and/or their local constituency office: (SWA are happy to provide templated letters for members to send).

This member feedback has guided the engagements that Colin Smith has had with MSPs and civil servants over the past two weeks. Details of these conversations are included within our other DRS news stories.

The SWA will continue to support a well-designed DRS which responds to the climate emergency but also works for the whole of industry and the consumer. In SWA’s opinion, such a design is one which:

  • Is UK-wide (eliminating what would effectively become a beverage trade border between Scotland & England)
  • Excludes glass
  • Has a realistic timetable (a 2022 "go live" date would meet SWA member needs)
  • Excludes small retailers
  • Recognises and helps mitigate the impacts on the whole supply chain