It’s not easy for a spirits company to pull off a corporate responsibility strategy — just look at what they distill and sell. Nevertheless, Bacardi has long succeeded on moving forward along this path at many levels. On environmental challenges, for example, the company has rolled out ideas such as selling its rum in compostable bottles and looking to address the problem of plastic ocean waste. When it comes to social issues, Bacardi has launched employment programs that make sense for the brand: After all, a good mixologist can make plenty of coin, and it's a far more promising career than being stuck in the gig economy. Now, the company is taking on a different challenge, as in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
This week, Bacardi announced its rum brand will slash its GHGs by half next year. Driving this reduction is a combined heat and power system (CHP) that is slated to launch next year at the brand’s rum distillery in Puerto Rico.
What’s significant about a CHP system? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for example, touts CHP technology for its ability to generate electricity and then capture what would otherwise be wasted heat. The result is thermal power that can be used for cooling, hot water, space heating and powering industrial processes.
With about two-thirds of the energy created by conventional electricity generation lost in the form of heat discharged into the atmosphere, CHP can assist with curbing that waste. On average, CHP systems can be 80 percent efficient, compared with conventional technologies, which on average are only approximately 50 percent efficient.
Bacardi’s pledge checks several boxes. First, this emissions pledge will help the company meet its overall energy reduction goals, which include a 50 percent cut in emissions by 2025. For the company’s brand reputation, this shift in Puerto Rico, along with Bacardi’s other plans to tackle environmental challenges, can win the loyalty of consumers who are increasingly pushing brands to do more on the sustainability front. Further, this switch to a CHP system helps nudge Puerto Rico away from a fossil fuel-heavy energy portfolio. The U.S. Energy Information Service (EIA) concludes that 37 percent of the commonwealth’s electricity needs currently come from petroleum.
Image credit: Anders Nord via Unsplash
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.