In the early 1850s, the Caribbean was awash in sugarcane molasses, a commodity so popular that sugarcane plantations sprung up all over the New World to cater to the world’s sweet tooth. In response to a challenge from the Spanish government to cut down on surplus molasses, Don Facundo Bacardí Massó opened his first rum distillery in Santiago, Cuba, on February 4, 1862.As a key part of his enterprise, Bacardi reused whiskey barrels for the aging of his company’s spirits.
From the very beginning, Bacardi has been mindful of sustainable business practices. The tradition continued until 2006, when the company formally began tracking its own use of resources. Bacardi made significant headway toward reducing waste, streamlining processes, and encouraging humane practices among its many suppliers. In just a few years, Bacardi scaled down water use in its facilities by 54 percent worldwide and reduced energy consumption by a quarter.
Today, the great success of the Bacardi Limited sustainability efforts has inspired the Company to unveil a new initiative called “Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future.” The innovative new plan, announced on the 152nd anniversary of the company’s founding, sets further goals for the company and names a number of specific targets for the coming decade.
For instance, by 2017 Bacardi aims to ensure that 40 percent of its sugarcane originates from certified sustainable sources. The company has already begun working toward this goal as a founding member of Bonsucro, which encourages socially and environmentally responsible sugarcane production throughout the world.
In addition, Bacardi plans to reduce packaging by 10 percent by 2017. As a result, the company will not only use less material in its products, but will also improve fuel efficiency during shipping. Furthermore, the company plans to reduce water consumption by an additional 55 percent beyond the gains it has already made in recent years. The company will also decrease greenhouse gas emissions by half and pursue many other sustainability targets.
The goals of Bacardi’s “Good Spirited” campaign are ambitious. By aiming high, Bacardi is charting a course toward responsible use of resources and truly sustainable business.