Addressing packaging weight, and using eco-friendly designs for bottles and point-of sale materials, are key areas in Bacardi’s global sustainability programme. By 2017, Bacardi plans to reduce the weight of its packaging by 10%, and by 15% for 2022.
Stuart Lowthian, global technical director, Bacardi, told BeverageDaily.com the company keeps lightweighting in mind when changes have to be made to production lines, or when it decides to redesign packaging.
Short return projects
“Molds need to be changed regularly as they wear out and we take those opportunities to introduce the subtle modifications which deliver the benefits,” he said.
“We also take the opportunities of changes to pack design to critically review our pack weights and sustainability.
“The costs of the changes are minimal in comparison to the benefits.
“As an example, we recently changed Dewar’s 12-year-old whisky from flint to brown glass, which contains a much higher content of recycled glass - and therefore has a lower environmental impact.”
A redesign of the Martini Asti bottle at the end of last year lightened the bottle, which makes them easier to package and ship, Lowthian said. The savings translate into 330 fewer cars on the road each year, but the look of the bottle remains the same, he added.
“The adjustments to the Asti bottle focused on glass wall thickness and minimal changes on bottle outside diameter. They cannot be perceived by consumers, but deliver 50g glass saving on each bottle,” he said.
Investments in lightweighting pay of quickly, Lowthian adds. “The investments are minimal and the returns are significant – both environmental and financial. These are short return projects, usually less than a year.”
Improvements on the bottling line mean thinner glass can be used. By better management of bottling line conveyor speeds, as well as computer supervision and synchronization between line machinery and bottle conveyors, Bacardi can avoid contact among bottles. Contact is the main cause of breakage, so the glass thickness can be lower than in the past.
Bacardi’s other global sustainability goals cover responsible sourcing and operational efficiencies.
Bacardi tries to obtain raw materials and packaging from sustainably sourced, renewable or recycled materials, while enhancing the economic status of growers and suppliers. By 2017, its goal is to obtain 40% of the sugarcane-derived products used to make Bacardi rum from certified, sustainable sources, and 100% by 2022.
The company also wants to improve operational efficiencies, which includes reducing water use and greenhouse gas emissions. It has a 2017 goal to cut water use by 55% and greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.
In addition, Bacardi aims to eliminate landfill waste at all of its production sites by 2022.