Bacardi to align CSR strategy with SDGs in bid to have ‘net-zero’ impact

Beverage giant Bacardi has pledged to align its corporate responsibility strategy with the targets of the United Nations' (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of an ambition to have a "net-zero" impact on the environment.

The company announced late last week that it will expand its environmental sustainability initiative, called Good Spirited, to encompass its entire CSR platform – including responsible drinking and community investment -a move it claims will enable alignment with at least 10 of the 17 Global Goals.

As part of the expansion, Bacardi has made new 2020 pledges, including sending zero waste to landfill from all manufacturing sites, replenishing 50% of the volume of water it uses in its final product and removing one billion plastic straws from circulation.

The firm has also had a goal of halving its Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020 approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which helps corporates align their emissions strategies with the Paris Agreement’s goal of a well-below 2C world. A further goal of reducing Scope 3 emissions by 20% within the same timeframe has also been set and approved.

The new commitments come after Bacardi revealed that it had achieved a 59% reduction in GHG emission intensity and a 50% reduction in water usage since launching the Good Spirited initiative in 2014.

Bacardi’s senior vice president for global operations, Jean-Marc Lambert, said that these achievements have spurred the company to work towards achieving a “net-zero” impact throughout its value chain.  

Other 2020 goals that Bacardi has set as it strives towards “net-zero” status include ensuring that all packaging is recyclable, sourcing 100% of its sugarcane sustainably and using 100% sustainably certified paper and card for labels and packaging.

Bacardi’s senior vice president of CSR Rick Wilson added that the new commitments would empower the company’s staff to “question, challenge and innovate” its sustainability credentials.

“We want [our employees] to see the organisation as if it was their own, to do what’s right for the business, take accountability for their work and to treat each other and our communities like family,” Wilson said.

SDG drive

Bacardi is the latest business to align its actions with the SDGs. Last month, health and wellbeing firm Humana became one of the first US health insurers to commit to the Goals. Elsewhere beverage firm Pernod Ricard, communications giant BT and property manager Canary Wharf Group have all made steps to act against the Goals.

Overall, the UN Global Compact estimates that more than 9,000 businesses worldwide have pledged to contribute to the achievement of the sweeping set of 2030 goals since they were launched in 2015.

However, reports in recent times have warned that businesses are failing to take sufficient action on the SDGs.  Elsewhere, sustainability consultancy Corporate Citizenship has warned that tangible plans and partnerships on the global goals has stalled despite growing corporate awareness of the framework.

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Sarah George

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