5 Strategies at the Heart of Bacardi’s Award-Winning Sustainability Program

5 Strategies at the Heart of Bacardi’s Award-Winning Sustainability Program

Bacardi has a long history of environmental responsibility, and has continuously strived to preserve the natural resources that make its operations possible. In 2014, the company formalized its dedication to sustainability with a comprehensive corporate social responsibility campaign spanning more than 75 offices and 27 manufacturing and bottling facilities around the world. The result of two years of planning, “Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future” has involved thousands of employees across nearly every brand in the Bacardi portfolio, and has inspired efforts in habitat preservation, resource conservation, responsible waste management, and more.

A little over a year after the launch of Good Spirited, Bacardi earned national recognition for the success of its new program, receiving Ragan’s award for Best Corporate Social Responsibility Program. The corporate communications publisher commended Bacardi for several elements of its sustainability initiative, not the least of which was the company’s ability to unite employees under the common goal of environmental sustainability.

Inspiring Employee Involvement

Bacardi building
Image courtesy Escael Marrero | Flickr

Employee engagement is integral to the success of any corporate social responsibility program, and Bacardi has taken several measures to weave environmental consciousness into the fabric of its company culture. Bacardi began by recruiting 50 Green Champions from within the organization, tasking them with creating local sustainability campaigns at Bacardi offices and distilleries worldwide. These Green Champions have made excellent progress at Bacardi facilities such as its Jacksonville, Florida, bottling center, where biodiversity projects in partnership with NestWatch and the Wildlife Habitat Council continue to support a thriving natural ecosystem.

Bacardi created a Good Spirited Hub on its employee intranet to provide further education and inspiration on its sustainable goals. Within the first year of Good Spirited, the hub received over 36,000 views from within the organization. Among its many features is a convenient online calculator that offers employees an in-depth look at how their sustainability efforts are benefiting both Bacardi and the environment. Using the calculator, Bacardi team members can convert their individual acts of energy and water conservation into monetary savings based on reductions in resource use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

During the inaugural year of Good Spirited, Bacardi also created 80 videos that featured employees around the world and illustrated their personal commitments to companywide sustainability. The videos served as a way to generate excitement about the campaign, while offering a closer look at how employees have already put it into action.

Generating Media Visibility

Bacardi’s employee videos also played a large role in elevating the media visibility of the Good Spirited campaign. The company repurposed half of the videos for distribution through external channels, providing the public with numerous examples of Bacardi’s corporate social responsibility efforts in action. In addition, Bacardi has made a wealth of information available online at www.bacardilimited.com/good-spirited, where you can find press releases, videos, and fact sheets about the various ways Bacardi brands are championing the cause of sustainability.

Creating Measurable Progress

Through Good Spirited, Bacardi pursues sustainable goals in three main areas: responsible sourcing, sustainable packaging, and operational efficiencies. The latter primarily involves reductions in water use, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions, and also includes the goal of completely eliminating landfill waste.

For its environmental endeavors, Bacardi developed a unique auditing system designed to measure the company’s performance against sustainability benchmarks. Known as BEST, or the Bacardi Environmental Sustainability Tracking system, the new method provides accurate assessments of both financial and environmental efficiency, comparing the company’s progress to base years while taking into consideration changes to products and services.

Bacardi has made clear, measurable advances in pursuit of environmental sustainability. In partnership with American Forests and consumers, the company recently honored its commitment to plant more than 50,000 trees throughout several states. And since Bacardi began measuring its environmental impact in 2006, it has reduced packaging weight by over 7 percent, cut energy use by 25 percent, reduced water use by 54 percent, and helped establish several sustainable sugarcane farms in Fiji. In the 2014 fiscal year alone, Bacardi achieved a 2.4 percent improvement in water efficiency when compared to 2013, as well as a 2.7 percent reduction in GHG emissions. That year, the company began installing two new biomass boilers at facilities in Arandas, Mexico and Aberfeldy, Scotland. Plans are underway to construct additional units to generate more improvements toward the final goal of a completely waste-free production cycle.

Making Future Commitments

Bacardi has set its sights on several specific sustainability benchmarks over the next few years. By 2017, the company intends to have reduced packaging weight by 10 percent, water use by 55 percent, and GHG emissions by 50 percent. By the year 2022, Bacardi also hopes to have eliminated solid landfill waste at all of its production sites.

Earning Industry Recognition

In recognition of the success of the Good Spirited campaign, Bacardi has received several accolades from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors. These honors include the EPA 2015 SmartWay Excellence Award, the Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Award for Best Employee Engagement, and recognition from the Global Water Summit. Bacardi has also been recognized by several business communications organizations in addition to Ragan, including the Hermes Creative Awards, American Business Awards, and the International Public Relations Association. Besides providing proof of a job well done, these awards have positioned Bacardi as a leader in corporate sustainability, in the spirits industry and beyond.