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18 . Glasgow Business May/June 2013


EARN IT & DRINK IT


Trust and whisky were the two topics for the recent Glasgow Talks events The value of trust


Te decline in public trust in institutions and what that means for businesses was the theme of the first in a series of Glasgow Talks events. Shonaig MacPherson, a


leading lawyer and non-executive director, said that many major institutions in society bear the brunt of that decline in trust. From the horsemeat scandal to


the activities of certain elements within the Financial Services Industry, many different strata were, she said, now under the microscope. Shonaig explained why


businesses should be concerned about this, particularly in relation to reduced trust in companies. In her view, increased


regulation and ‘red tape’ were not good ways to try and improve trust because they tended to get in the way of human judgement. She said that the situation was


not hopeless but that there are still opportunities for businesses to turn the tide and once again secure the public’s trust. She said that people were now


looking more to their peers and that social media was puting everyone under the spotlight. While she said that could lead


to situations where trust is eroded, it could also allow businesses to build reputations from the botom up in a way that could be more organic. She spoke of how Glasgow as a


city can function as a changing environment when it came to trust. If people are confident in the


city’s credentials as an honest place to do business, it will continue to thrive and big global opportunities such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games are the ideal scenarios to demonstrate these capacities.


Stuart Patrick with Shonaig MacPherson (top) and (above, from left) the Scotch Whisky Association’s Gavin Hewitt, Douglas Crawford of Morrison Bowmore Distillers and Gerry O’Donnell of The Edrington Group


Whisky: Scotland’s exports top performer


Scotch whisky’s vital contribution to the Glasgow and Scotish economies was the subject of an April Glasgow Talk held at the Teachers Building, the former home of Teacher’s Whisky. A speakers panel featured


Gavin Hewit, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association; Douglas Crawford, Finance Director at Morrison Bowmore Distillers, and Gerry O’Donnell, Public Affairs Director for the Edrington Group. Each speaker shared a number


of observations from their experience in the industry, before


taking questions from the audience. With a heavy focus on growing


international markets for Scotch whisky, Gavin Hewit shared several striking statistics on the industry’s success, perhaps most notably that the value of whisky exports have increased by 87 per cent over the last decade. Whisky accounts for 25 per cent of all UK food and drink exports. Mr Hewit, who has previously


enjoyed a long career in the UK diplomatic service, went on to discuss the many barriers facing whisky producers seeking to enter foreign markets, of which there are more than 600. He suggested that only


through free trade agreements, such as one recently established between the EU and South Korea, could the industry avoid damaging tariffs, like the 150 per cent rate imposed on Scotch in India. Douglas Crawford gave an


outline of the history and values of Morrison Bowmore. He discussed the relationship between the business and its Japanese parent company Suntory, reflecting on the increasingly global nature of Scotch. Gerry O’Donnell delivered a


plea for Scots to rediscover their zeal for a drink that is far more versatile than it is oſten given credit for. He highlighted the fact that


around 80 per cent of all final production of Scotch whisky takes place within the Glasgow area. Te industry also makes


a high level of investment to infrastructure, a figure expected to be more than £2 billion over the next four years. Mr O’Donnell urged the


audience to consider both the economic and social contribution that Scotch makes to the country.


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