Beam Suntory Invests $1B In Consumers, Communities And The Environment

By Gary Carter / April 22, 2021

Beam Suntory, one of the largest in the spirits industry, and particularly in whisk(e)y, is looking to make long-term commitments to the tune of more than $1 billion to sustainability across every facet of its industry, from seed to sip, officials said in a recent statement.

Through a program known as Proof Positive, those commitments to the environment, consumers, and society are aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the statement reads.

“Making a positive impact on the planet, consumers and communities isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a must-do for the sustainability of our business and humanity,” said Albert Baladi, Beam Suntory President & CEO. “Proof Positive is inspired by Suntory’s vision of Growing for Good and represents a step-change in our sustainability ambitions. Our products start with the blessings of nature, and we’re determined to give back to nature more than we use.”

Jim Beam American Stillhouse

Jim Beam American Stillhouse (image via Beam-Suntory)

He said Beam Suntory is fundamentally committed to reducing harmful drinking, and they plan to increase investment to support consumers in making responsible choices.

“We’ll use our platform to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, and leave a lasting legacy for our teams, community and our industry,” Baladi added. “Proof Positive is a critical roadmap towards 2030, 2040, and beyond for how we will positively impact the environment, our consumers and our communities.”

Proof Positive targets for 2030 and 2040 include:

NATURE POSITIVE: Through investments in efficient technology and cleaner fuels in recent years, Beam Suntory has reduced water use per unit of production by 22 percent and reduced greenhouse gases emitted by direct operations by 19 percent.. Building on this progress to reduce its environmental footprint, Beam Suntory goals include:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 50 percent across direct operations by 2030, with an ambition to remove more carbon than is emitted across the entire value chain by 2040. Notably, the Fred B. Noe Craft Distillery, set to open later this year in Clermont, KY, will be the company’s first distillery powered by renewable energy, and Beam Suntory sites across the world have begun transitioning from higher carbon fuels, like coal and fuel oil, to lower carbon fuels, such as natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas. The company has also begun evaluation of options to transition to renewable fuels across distilleries globally.
  • Reducing water usage for every unit of production by 50 percent by 2030 and replenishing more water than what is used in direct operations to water sources, shared with local communities and nature, by 2040. Both Maker’s Mark and the James B. Beam Distilling Co. have established Natural Water Sanctuaries in Kentucky to protect local water sources that are vital to the crafting of bourbon.
  • Planting more trees than those harvested to make whiskey barrels … a commitment to plant 500,000 trees annually by 2030. With Beam Suntory’s bourbon brands aging only in new charred oak barrels, the company looks to ensure a sustainable source of American White Oak for future use in production, and to support sustainable forestry practices.
  • Working only with suppliers that use sustainable practices by 2040.
  • Using 100 percent recyclable packaging and 40 percent recycled materials by weight across the packaging portfolio by 2030.

CONSUMER POSITIVE: Beam Suntory provides tools for consumers to make positive choices for their personal wellbeing and impact on others through its Drink Smart program (www.drinksmart.com), partners with organizations around the world on evidence-based programs to combat underage consumption, binge drinking and impaired driving, and provides consumers with calorie and alcohol content for its key products. To further elevate its commitment to reducing harmful drinking and empowering consumers to make the right choices for them, the company has set goals that include:

  • Investing $500 million to promote responsible decisions and positively impact behavior by significantly expanding responsibility-led brand communications, elevating the Drink Smart platform, and supporting evidence-based partner programs. The company aims to engage more than 300 million consumers by 2030 with messages and tools designed to promote responsible decisions and reduce harmful drinking.
  • Enabling expanded choices by developing, introducing and investing in awareness of low- or no-ABV products in key categories, including whiskey, tequila, gin, vodka and ready-to-drink, by 2030.
  • Providing nutrition and alcohol content information on packaging or online for 100 percent of products by 2030.

COMMUNITY POSITIVE: Beam Suntory will foster a more inclusive and equitable culture, while working to increase gender, racial, and ethnic representation across its business, and continue to engage and support employees around the world to volunteer their time. Goals include:

  • Reaching 50 percent women in leadership positions globally, 45 percent racially and ethnically diverse employee representation in the US, and achieving a sense of belonging among employees by 2030.
  • Contributing 1 million cumulative volunteer hours to communities around the world by 2030 and continuing to invest in initiatives and organizations that support on-trade partners, build stronger communities, and promote social justice.

Beam Suntory will disclose progress toward these goals each year. For more information about Proof Positive, go to www.beamsuntory.com/sustainability.