Global Likker Co. Stakes Out Sustainable Rum Turf

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Did you know that Bacardi is the largest privately held alcoholic beverage company in the world? Think Grey Goose, Dewar’s, and Bombay, and you’re on the right track. Well, drink up. Bacardi has been ramping up its sustainability efforts, the latest announcement being a tweak to its sugarcane operations in Fiji for its signature rum products.

Bacardi aims to showcase its new sugar cane operations as a model farm practice for the industry, so let’s take a closer look and see how much more guilt-free drinking we can look forward to.

Bacardi sustainable rum
Bacardi rum (cropped) by Henry Mestre.

Bacardi And Sustainable Sugar Cane

We’ve covered sustainable beer pretty regularly along with our sister site PlanetSave (here and here, for example), so now it’s time to give likker a turn. As an agriculture-based industry, spirits companies have to take on water and land resource issues as a matter of survival.

Bacardi began a deep dive into sustainable rum in  2005, when it helped to launch the non-profit Bonsucro trade group. Aside from tackling environmental issues Bonsucro has been credited by Oxfam with pushing the industry in the right direction on social responsibility issues, though Oxfam still sees plenty of room for improvement in that regard.

Bacardi has also partnered with WWF (aka World Wildlife Fund) on the new sustainability measures. The aim is to protect Fiji’s Great Sea Reef habitat, which provides about 80 percent of the domestic fish supply to the country.

Bacardi has pledged that by 2022, it will get 100 percent of its sugarcane from certified sustainable sources. The pledge is an industry first, according to the company, and it looks pretty doable partly because Bacardi is not looking to rocket science for improving its sugar cane operations.

The model farming practices basically involve improved terracing and row spacing to prevent runoff.

Bacardi Sustainability

So, let’s move along to some other sustainability news from Bacardi.

Shortly after helping to launch Bonsucro, back in 2006 Bacardi started tracking its emissions, water use, and other sustainability measures. As of this year the company had already reduced its energy use by about 25 percent and water use by 54 percent.

Here’s a run down of some of the projects:

wind power for BACARDÍ rum in Puerto Rico, repurposing water used to clean barrels, mulching retired barrels for use on landscaping, switching from fossil fuel to hydro energy for MARTINI vermouth production in Italy, transforming leftover botanicals into fertilizer and livestock bedding, creating an energy efficient blending and shipping center in Scotland for DEWAR’S and WILLIAM LAWSON’S Scotch, and transforming the historic Laverstoke Mill in England to a green-certified distillery for BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin that will be powered using biomass and hydro-electrical energy sources.

Bacardi’s “Good Spirited” initiative, announced earlier this year, ramps it up to the next level by setting specific goals for sourcing raw materials (that would be the sugar cane pledge) and supply chain packing, point-of-sale packaging, and operations.

The operations category basically involves emissions and water consumption.  The new goal is a near-term reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2017, which is right around the corner, along with a 55 percent reduction in water use.

Zero landfilling is another goal, and that includes reclaiming construction debris when its older facilities are demolished or renovated. Bacardi cites the example of a recent demolition project in Puerto Rico, which reclaimed 150 truckloads of concrete to construct a new facility on the island.It looks like there’ll be a lot more news from Bacardi over the next couple of years, we’ll keep you posted.

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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

Tina Casey has 3144 posts and counting. See all posts by Tina Casey

One thought on “Global Likker Co. Stakes Out Sustainable Rum Turf

  • 2006 they took the BIG step of starting to track! You got to measure it to understand where to improve it. A toast to continued improvement.

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