Bacardi’s Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future platform is a global initiative spanning the entire Bacardi family of companies. Since launching the corporate responsibility campaign in 2014, Bacardi has implemented environmentally conscious strategies that target water conservation, renewable energy, and habitat preservation at its 30 production facilities located throughout 16 countries.
The company has garnered international recognition for its sustainability efforts. The Bacardi Bottling Corporation facility in Jacksonville, Florida, for example, recently earned recertification as a Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) Wildlife at Work site.
Carrying Out “Good Spirited” in Jacksonville, Florida
Situated on 92 sprawling acres, the Jacksonville-based Bacardi Bottling Corporation, a Center of Excellence for Bottling, is one of the primary manufacturing centers for BACARDÍ rum. Since 1972, the facility has bottled all products distributed in the United States, as well as those exported to 12 additional countries.
Bacardi Bottling Corporation is nestled within a rural residential area, and its employees have taken advantage of their surroundings to create multiple wildlife habitats on the 21 acres of the campus grounds. Using native species of plants, the team has created forest, wetland, and grassland habitats, and Bacardi Bottling Corporation volunteers personally manage the preserved land.
The employees’ environmental conservation efforts first began in 2012, when a group of volunteers decided to transform the vast expanse of land surrounding the bottling facility into a suitable home for nearby wildlife. They replaced 5 acres of field with native species of grass and wildflowers that would thrive during warmer months, and in 2014, they launched Phase II of the landscape transformation. This second step involved applying herbicide on an additional 20 acres before using a seed drill to plant more native plants across the campus.
Bacardi Bottling Corp.’s habitat project has reintroduced several grass and wildlife species to the area, including slender Indian grass, big bluestem, blanket flower, black-eyed Susan, and most recently, native milkweed. Bacardi Bottling Corporation employees use photographs and sample plots to monitor the growth of their landscape.
In addition to natural, sustainable landscaping, the company’s environmental stewardship includes the creation of a more personalized variety of animal habitats. In 2014, the campus worked with local Cub Scouts to construct next boxes for native songbirds. Guided by the advice of local bird experts, the group built eight nest boxes to serve as homes for eastern bluebirds. After setting up the new habitats, the employees held a contest to name the nest boxes, selecting such delightfully fitting names as “Home Tweet Home” and “House of Blues.”
Bacardi Bottling Company volunteers check their nest boxes on a weekly basis and have welcomed members of the Florida Audubon Society to join in their nest-monitoring endeavors. In 2015, the Jacksonville Bacardi campus welcomed five Eastern Bluebird hatchlings.
WHC’s Wildlife at Work
The habitats created by the Bacardi Bottling Corporation team fall within the scope of its Wildlife at Work program, a facility-wide environmental conservation initiative certified and supported by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC). Through Wildlife at Work, WHC recognizes and supports corporate habitat management projects while promoting the benefits these programs offer to both organizations and the environment. Bacardi’s Jacksonville campus has maintained its Wildlife at Work certification since 2013.
Driven by the belief that every act of conservation has a positive impact, the Wildlife Habitat Council connects organizations with the necessary tools and partnerships to develop their corporate sustainability initiatives into tangible, successful projects. The organization’s Conservation Strategy and Planning Team helps companies develop their conservation strategies. The nonprofit also provides budding conservation initiatives with guidebooks that help organizations develop conservation programs in accordance with WHC’s certification guidelines and online webinars through the “Conservation Academy.” With tools such as these, WHC has empowered corporate volunteers to launch habitat conservation projects in 13 countries, 45 states, and Washington, DC.
The Wildlife Habitat Council Conservation Conference
The Wildlife Habitat Council officially recertified Bacardi Bottling Corporation as a Wildlife at Work program member at the WHC Conservation Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 12, 2015. Eric Hearn, Bacardi Bottling Corporation’s Environmental Health Safety Coordinator, and Sally Cannon, the Jacksonville facility’s processing/training coordinator and Wildlife Team Leader, accepted the honor on behalf of the company.
The annual WHC Conservation Conference provides networking and educational opportunities for professionals from the corporate and conservation worlds. Over the course of two days, participants attend speaker sessions and workshops on topics ranging from the use of art and storytelling in habitat creation to strategies for restoring existing habitats. The yearly event also gives the organization on opportunity to present several awards to recognize its member companies and partners in various categories, including excellence in conservation education, outstanding corporate habitat projects, and “Rookie of the Year.”