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CSR at Jack Daniel’s Is a Mixed Cocktail

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday September 4th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Jack DanielsBrown-Forman – parent of Jack Daniel’s and many other alcohol beverage brands – says in its second corporate responsibility report that after implementing a greenhouse gas reduction strategy last year, it reduced total energy use by 2.3 percent from its 2007 use.

That’s a start, but over the same 2007-2008 period the company reported that its GHG emissions jumped 9.3 percent to 189,233 metric tons. Water consumption meanwhile increased by 4.5 percent. The total GHG increase includes increases in both direct and indirect emissions and a slight decline in “optional” emissions.

It’s not until page 25 of the 28-page report, On Being Responsible, Our Thinking about Drinking, that environmental issues and results are addressed in some detail.

The company gets its energy from coal, waste wood, natural gas, fuel and electricity. Last year’s reduction in energy use came about from reduced production at some facilities and energy-efficiency moves such as lighting, heating and cooling optimization and the installation of a waste-to-energy process that will fuel a boiler at its tequila plant in Mexico with bio-gas generated as an energy byproduct at a new wastewater treatment facility there.

Brown-Forman says its largest energy use comes from the production of spirits, and the fuel used to distribute its products. The 9 percent bump in GHG emissions last year was attributed to increased capacity and the “introduction of new processes at one facility,” the report says.

In addition to its most recognizable and popular brand, Jack Daniel’s, B-F also produces and markets Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Canadian Mist, Fetzer, Korbel, Gentleman Jack, el Jimador, Tequila Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chambord, Tuaca, Woodford Reserve, and Bonterra.

“Our environmental performance policy emphasizes compliance to regulation and stewardship,” the report says, and “going beyond compliance.”

However, Brown-Forman has not as yet established a GHG reduction target.

“Our reporting is maturing, but we believe we still have some way to go,” says Chairman and CEO Paul C. Varga.

Indeed. For the second time its long history a 140-year-old-company old is getting around to taking corporate responsibility seriously. There is a lot of ground to cover.


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