Bacardi’s Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future campaign, launched in 2014, has already shown impressive results. The corporate social responsibility initiative is based on three aggressive goals encompassing responsible sourcing, global packaging, and operational efficiencies. Four of the brands in the Bacardi family of spirits—MARTINI, DEWAR’S, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE, and BACARDI—have already begun to reach these goals.
Here are seven areas where Bacardi is leading the industry when it comes to sustainability.
Much of the energy used at the MARTINI facility near Turin, Italy, comes from hydropower generated in mountains streams in the Alps. MARTINI’s carbon dioxide emissions from all operations were down by one third in 2014 from 2006, equivalent to removing 700 cars from the roads. At the BACARDI facility in Puerto Rico, two wind turbines harvest enough energy from the steady ocean breezes to power the site’s visitor center. In addition, the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin distillery at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire, England, boasts a newly refurbished water turbine that provides sustainable energy for the visitor center and its displays.
Biomass boilers are heating systems that often burn renewable fuel sources like wood chips or pellets. At Laverstoke Mill, a biomass boiler produces clean energy by burning organic matter, including plant waste left over from the production of BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin. Not only does the boiler produce 90% of the steam needed to run the two main stills, but it heats the two glasshouses that grow a sample of the botanical ingredients that give the gin its distinct flavor. Meanwhile, a new biomass boiler at DEWAR’S Aberfeldy, Scotland, whisky distillery has reduced the facility’s carbon footprint by an impressive 90%.
Bacardi Limited set a goal to reduce water use across all its facilities by 55% in 2017. In response, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE’s Laverstoke Mill began harvesting rainwater for some distillery operations. BACARDI’s Puerto Rico facility recycles water used to rinse barrels used for aging its rum. DEWAR’S Aberfeldy distillery returns water that has been naturally filtered through a system of reeds back to Scotland’s River Tay, a haven for salmon fishing.
Landfill Waste & Recycling
The Good Spirited initiative calls for the complete elimination of landfill waste by 2022 at all of the Bacardi family production sites. Recycling programs are already in place in offices, distilleries, bottling plants, and other facilities. During demolition at the company’s Puerto Rico distillery in order to make way for new blending facilities, 2,300 tons of concrete was repurposed rather than sent to a landfill. In addition, oak barrels used for aging rum are re-used many times, then mulched and spread on the lush grounds surrounding the distillery.
Whisky byproducts at DEWAR’S facilities are used to produce energy for local residents and feed for livestock. Since 2009, the MARTINI facility has decreased landfill waste by 7%, or 750 metric tons, roughly equivalent to the amount of waste generated by 380,000 people in a year. Leftover botanicals from the MARTINI facility are additionally composted or used as stable bedding for cattle, keeping them out of landfills.
Bacardi is well on its way to reducing the total weight of its packaging by 10% in 2017 and 15% in 2022. Recently, DEWAR’S White Label bottles were redesigned, shedding about 25 grams per bottle. MARTINI’S new Asti bottle shaved off close to 2 ounces in weight as well. These lighter bottles reduce greenhouse gas emissions both at production and during shipping.
DEWAR’S supports acres of natural landscaping outside its Aberfeldy distillery to encourage habitats for local wildlife. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE likewise planted native plants along the River Test at Laverstoke Mill in order to revitalize the riparian ecosystem. When the mill was renovated, great care was taken to re-home bats, fish, and other native species to minimize environmental impact. More than 20 bat boxes were installed on the site’s buildings after renovation.
The BACARDI Puerto Rico facility boasts a large wildflower garden cared for by employees to provide habitat for bees and other pollinators. In addition, Bacardi has worked hard to reduce the degradation of Fiji’s ocean reefs by encouraging sustainable sugarcane practices through the Model Farm program.
Bacardi is a founding member of Bonsucro, an organization that works to improve economic, environmental, and social conditions within the sugarcane industry. This proactive commitment to the industry’s sustainability will help Bacardi attain its goal of sourcing 40% of sugarcane-derived products from certified, sustainable sources by 2017, and 100% by 2022. The company worked with the World Wildlife Fund to create a Model Farm initiative that encourages terracing and proper distance between sugarcane rows to decrease runoff into Fiji’s delicate reef ecosystem.
Altogether, initiatives in these seven key areas are helping Bacardi meet greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. By 2017, the company expects to have decreased its greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.
Though many of Bacardi’s green initiatives take advantage of new technologies and ideas, sustainability has been a hallmark of the company since its establishment in Santiago de Cuba in 1862. The very act of rum-making in those days was an exercise in sustainability, as the Spanish crown encouraged Cubans to find ways to use the excess molasses that was a byproduct of sugar production. Moreover, founder Don Facundo Bacardi Masso used sustainable production methods by re-using old whiskey barrels to age his rum.