In its ongoing mission to give back to the environment as much as it takes away, Bacardi has taken measures to not only improve the sustainability of its operations, but also to encourage its associates to better their communities and beautify their surroundings. As reported by NestWatch, Bacardi team members in Jacksonville, Florida, recently constructed and monitored habitats for native bird species on the Bacardi Bottling Corporation campus. Further south in Coral Gables, Bacardi employees have also partnered with American Forests and Million Trees Miami to enhance the community’s landscape. Carrying on the company’s 150-year history of community service and environmental consciousness, a group of Bacardi team members set to work to plant 20 trees in Miami Gardens.
As noted by American Forests’ urban programs director Ian Leahy, trees are the only form of infrastructure that add more value to communities as they age, as their ability to control storm water, produce oxygen, and take in carbon dioxide increases as they grow. In this way, Bacardi employees have helped to improve the environment of Miami Gardens for years to come, and they have created a visual reminder of the company’s dedication to community service.
American Forests – Rebuilding Environments Since 1875
American Forests is the nation’s oldest nonprofit conservation organization and was founded in 1875 as the American Forestry Association. It has worked to protect and expand the forests of America, planting over 50 million trees from coast to coast. The nonprofit identifies ecosystems in need of restoration and conducts detailed environmental analyses to decide how to best conduct remediation programs. Operating across varying regions, American Forests takes great care in choosing the right tree species to help create new wildlife habitats, manage wind and water, and enhance urban environments. In many cases, American Forests’ activities involve restoring or completely rebuilding ailing ecosystems degraded by natural disasters, pests, or disease.
In addition to planting trees, American Forests also advocates for forest conservation in the legislative sphere. The organization seeks to educate policymakers on the ecological significance of trees, including their impact on climate, water resources, and air quality. In this way, American Forests hopes to increase governmental support for conservation activities such as forest monitoring systems and ecological job training. The nonprofit’s educational efforts extend to the general public as well, as it strives to inspire forest stewardship in communities around the country.
Bacardi’s tree-planting project in Miami Gardens is part of American Forests’ Community ReLeaf program, which, along with its Global ReLeaf program, comprises much of the conservation group’s tree-planting activities. Since the organization’s inception, it has launched more than 600 ReLeaf programs to plant trees in all 50 states and 38 countries around the world. Through the Community and Global ReLeaf initiative, American Forests has reforested several regions impacted by natural disaster. These efforts have included projects in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina and West Coast initiatives focused on repairing the damage caused by wildfires. Community ReLeaf has also facilitated the restoration of habitats for species such as Kirtland’s warbler and the monarch butterfly, and has promoted the expansion of urban forests.
Working with Million Trees Miami
American Forests’ Community ReLeaf program has accomplished these goals by connecting with partners at the local level, recruiting environmentally conscious citizens and organizations to collaborate on community-driven projects. For their recent work in Miami Gardens, Bacardi and American Forests reached out to Million Trees Miami, an initiative of Miami-Dade County that seeks to revive the lush canopy coverage that many associate with Miami’s sunny, tropical climate. With the support of additional partners such as Florida International University and Florida Power & Light, the initiative aims to plant 1 million trees by 2020 and restore canopy cover levels to 30 percent.
Restoring Idaho’s Forests
The tree-planting project in Miami Gardens was hardly the first collaboration between Bacardi and American Forests. In February 2015, Bacardi worked with the nonprofit to take on two reforestation projects in Idaho. Bacardi took the opportunity to strengthen its Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future campaign and worked to engage consumers with its conversation efforts. Through the end of March 2015, the company pledged to plant one tree for each bottle of BACARDÍ Superior, BACARDÍ Gold, and BACARDÍ Select rum purchased in Idaho.
The project benefited two forest regions in dire need of restoration. Bacardi facilitated the planting of 55,600 white pine and western larch trees across 139 acres of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Located specifically in Priest Lake and Bonners Ferry, the new trees served to strengthen the ecosystem’s watershed and defend against pests and wildfires.
Bacardi’s reforestation campaign also supported the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in its recovery from the McGuire Fire of 2012. The fire destroyed around 52,000 acres of forest land, and 32,000 acres of that total were scorched in particularly high-intensity blazes. Bacardi and American Forests made significant headway in the restoration of this region with the addition of 210,000 lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce, and western larch trees throughout 700 acres.
When Bacardi and American Forests first launched their partnership in December 2014, Bacardi pledged to plant at least 25,000 trees across Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Since then, Bacardi has far exceeded this goal, having planted over 50,000 trees across the United States.