Bacardi Limited, the world’s largest privately held spirits company, has pledged to obtain 40 percent of the sugarcane-derived products used to make its rums from certified, sustainable sources by 2017 and 100 percent by 2022 — an industry first — as part of a new global sustainability campaign.
Marking the 152nd anniversary of the company’s founding, Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future builds on current programs and efficiencies that reduce water and energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and sets new goals in three primary areas: responsible sourcing, global packaging and operational efficiencies.
“Protecting the natural resources we use to create our brands, at every step along the value chain, is central to our corporate responsibility,” said Ed Shirley, Bacardi's president and CEO. “We’ve always set the bar high. Now, we’re taking our solid, sustainable foundation to the next level.”
To achieve its lofty goal of 100 percent sustainable sourcing, Bacardi says it will continue to support sustainable sugarcane farms in Fiji that take measures to protect the islands’ Great Sea Reef. The company will focus on obtaining all raw materials and packaging from sustainably sourced, renewable or recycled materials while maintaining or enhancing the economic status of growers and suppliers.
In a move towards more sustainable packaging, Bacardi plans to reduce the weight of its packaging by 10 percent by 2017 and achieve 15 percent by 2022. The company says it collaborates with its partners — including glass and paper suppliers — to make packaging more environmentally friendly.
Through the new initiative, Bacardi also will redouble its efforts to reduce water use and GHG emissions, by cutting water use by 55 percent (by exploring innovative treatments for water left over from production) and GHG emissions by 50 percent by 2017.
Notably, Bacardi is striving to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill at all of its production sites by 2022. At Bacardi’s rum distillery in Puerto Rico — the largest in the world — demolition crews recycled more than 150 truckloads of concrete without sending any debris to landfills. The concrete is being reused in the construction of new blending facilities.
“Bacardi considers global environmental innovation part of its DNA,” says Eric Kraus, Senior Vice President, Chief Communications and Corporate Affairs Officer, who leads Bacardi corporate social responsibility initiatives. “Our goal is to return to the environment at least as much as we take away. We’re setting a sustainability standard for others in the spirits industry to follow.”
Since it began tracking its global impacts on the environment in 2006, Bacardi claims to have reduced energy use by more than 25 percent and water use by 54 percent. The company achieved this in part by using wind power for producing rum in Puerto Rico, repurposing water used to clean barrels and mulching retired barrels for use on landscaping. Bacardi also switched from fossil fuel to hydro energy for Martini vermouth production in Italy, transformed leftover botanicals into fertilizer and livestock bedding, created an energy efficient blending and shipping center in Scotland for Dewar’s and William Lawson’s Scotch, and transformed the historic Laverstoke Mill in England to a green-certified distillery for its Bombay Sapphire gin that will be powered using biomass and hydro-electrical energy sources.
Diageo, another global beverage company (which produces Guinness, Bailey's, Tanqueray and Johnnie Walker, to name a few), announced last year that it is hoping to achieve zero waste to landfill at all of its sites by 2015. The company's latest sustainability and responsibility report boasted a more than 53 percent waste reduction in 2013.