The drinks brands championing sustainability

Sam Trevethyen, global brand ambassador at Discarded, adds: “Often, we would ship this [rum] back to the Caribbean to be blended and sold on, which was a shame because it has a unique flavour profile. Also, it’s just not great to ship stuff halfway across the world. If you’re building something from the ground up it’s easy to build it to be as sustainable as you want it to be. Smaller operations have a lot of control. When talking about giant spirit companies, it can be a little more challenging.”


It turns out many are willing to rise to the challenge. Moët Hennessy is reducing emissions across its portfolio. Belvedere has reduced energy-related CO2 emissions by 42% since 2012, with the goal to increase this to 80% by 2022, by capturing “biomass from distillery waste to create its own green fuel – and by 2025 aims to be self-sufficient, generating 100% renewable energy from the distillery and surrounding business,” according to Ali Wilkes, consumer engagement director.

Ruinart too has launched a 100% recyclable paper bottle casing, which is nine times lighter and has a 60% lower carbon footprint than previous incarnations. The brand’s mission is to be “the most conscious Champagne house in the next 10 years”.

Wilkes adds: “Research published last year shows sustainability has reached a tipping point. Consumers are increasingly embracing social causes, and seek products and brands that align with their values. Nearly six in 10 consumers said they were willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact and 80% said sustainability is important to them, but it is up to companies and producers to ensure that they start the process by supporting sustainability themselves.”

Recognising this shift in the ideals of customers, Zamora Company created a “conscious company” department two years ago. With a focus on social and sustainable planning, it believes communication is key.

“We are completely open with our employees and our customers about what our goals are, and we have created a set of certifications that help us show what we are working to,” says Marisa Almazán, conscious company manager.

“As consumers increasingly embrace social causes, they look for products and brands that align with their values – and reducing their environmental impact is an acknowledged factor to make them change their habits.”

Awareness is a symptom of the information age. Consumers are more influenced by their values in part because they are more informed.

“In the age of communication and the spontaneity of information, there is every reason to believe that solutions will emerge collectively,” says Serge Barbarin, manager of Château Biston-Brillette. “It will be necessary to break free from a form of individualism because success will be collective."

The future will bring techniques and technologies to facilitate efficient, low-impact production, but it is the responsibility of producers to incorporate them into their processes.