According to Bacardi’s latest sustainability report, the 6.3% year-on-year reduction reflected the company’s increased use of residual water from production for beneficial use, while reducing the amount of wastewater discharged to the environment.

A combination of better operating discipline, water conservation measures, new water-efficient equipment and advanced water recycling systems has delivered the improved performance.

Progress on reducing its carbon emissions, however, stumbled for the second year running with direct CO2-equivalent emissions increasing in 2013 by 4.7%. In addition, the company’s overall greenhouse gas emissions increased by 12.5%.

While the increase in 2012 was the result of higher production, the emissions increase in 2013 was largely due to the higher consumption of heavy fuel oil to compensate for low biogas production.

At its largest distillery in Puerto Rico, one of the anaerobic reactors, which treats wastewater and converts organic residue into biogas, faltered. When fully operational, the biogas is used as fuel to produce steam and electricity to run the plant.

This reduced mode of operation resulted in lower volumes of production and lower quantities of wastewater treated. Because of this, biogas production dropped below normal levels and the site had to switch to using mostly heavy fuel oil to meet steam and electricity needs.

The report states: “Unfortunately, this year we had a setback arising from decreased renewable energy generation. Remedial actions are in place to return the distillery’s GHG emissions to a reduction trajectory in the future”.

Last year Bacardi reported that water efficiency per unit of product improved by 11% in 2012 compared to 2011 but GHG emissions increased by 6% year-on-year.

Leigh Stringer

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