Bacardi’s efforts to improve sustainability throughout its global operations have included partnerships with a number of organizations, including supply chain partners, conservation groups such as American Forests, and even government agencies. Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., recently received recognition from the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the form of the SmartWay Excellence Award, which honors the company for its outstanding performance in the EPA’s SmartWay sustainability program and highlights its status as a leader in energy-efficient, environmentally conscious freight shipping. This is Bacardi’s second consecutive year as a SmartWay semifinalist, and 2015 marks the leading spirit producer’s first time as a SmartWay Excellence Award winner.
In its mission to transport its products more sustainably, Bacardi conducts all of its freight shipping through carriers recognized by the EPA as environmentally and energy efficient. The firm also uses energy-efficient tools, such as battery-operated forklifts and motion-activated lighting, at its shipping warehouses. Because Bacardi strives to replenish what it takes from the environment, it serves as an ideal partner for the EPA SmartWay Program, which shares a vision similar to that of Bacardi’s Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future initiative.
The EPA launched SmartWay in 2004 with the goal of improving the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of the U.S. freight transportation sector. The market-driven initiative encourages companies across multiple sectors to assess their shipping activities and adopt sustainable new strategies. SmartWay is a public-private partnership that involves trucking companies of all sizes, rail carriers, and logistics companies, as well as commercial retailers and manufacturers like Bacardi.
Through SmartWay, the EPA strives to make the business sector more environmentally friendly. The program helps companies measure the environmental effects of their current freight shipping operations and take measures to limit their negative impact on public health and climate change. To this end, SmartWay specifically promotes the use of vehicles equipped with SmartWay Verified Technologies—innovations that the EPA has deemed most effective at saving energy and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Since launching the SmartWay program, the EPA has identified a number of specific aerodynamic, idle reduction, and retrofit technologies, as well as types of low-rolling-resistance tires. The program works to increase the accessibility of these tools by providing grants and testing support to aid the development process. The EPA also publishes emissions ratings for all new cars, trucks, and SUVs to provide consumers with a reliable benchmark for choosing environmentally friendly transportation.
Recognizing Sustainability Leaders
The EPA honored its 11 SmartWay shipping and logistics award winners on October 13 at its annual Technology Showcase at the National Vehicle and Fuels Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The agency recognized several more truck, barge, and multimodal carrier partners in Philadelphia on October 19, presenting the awards during the Annual Management Conference and Exhibition of the American Trucking Association.
The 2015 SmartWay Excellence Awards honored the 11 partner retailers and manufacturers who have most effectively leveraged operational innovations, data collection, industry collaboration, public outreach, and technology to emerge as leaders in the mission for a more sustainable shipping sector. In addition to Bacardi, the selection of the EPA’s top environmental performers included logistics firms Armada and Menlo Logistics and shippers Canon USA, Hewlett-Packard, Lowe’s, The Home Depot USA, Whirlpool, Kimberly-Clark, Appleton Coated, and Gorton’s.
Since the inception of the EPA SmartWay program, its more than 3,000 partner companies have saved approximately 144 million barrels of oil and achieved $20.6 billion in fuel savings. SmartWay innovations have also helped companies avoid producing several million tons of air pollutants, including some 61 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
A Valuable Partnership
As of 2009, Bacardi transported 65 percent of the shipments hailing from its Jacksonville, Florida bottling facility by road. Since then, it has worked with longtime shipping partner Ryder System, Inc., to develop a freight shipping strategy that uses trucks to ship just 35 percent of its goods, with 65 percent of shipments traveling by rail.
Bacardi has worked with Ryder for over a decade, during which the Fortune 500 logistics and supply chain solution company has leveraged its fleet of trucks, tractors, and trailers to help increase Bacardi’s transportation sustainability. Ryder facilitates all domestic shipping for Bacardi, and the two firms have worked together under the SmartWay banner since joining the program 2008.
Ryder has drawn on its intermodal capabilities to help Bacardi increase its sustainability by diversifying its freight shipping. Its third-party shipping services allow Bacardi to use rail lines for the longer legs of its shipping routes while using trucks for shorter hauls, thus limiting the firm’s carbon dioxide emissions.
With Ryder’s support, Bacardi’s efforts to improve its transportation efficiency have yielded a 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The company has also cut its usage of nonrenewable energy sources by the same margin while reducing its packaging weight by more than 7 percent—the equivalent of 1,100 truckloads.