How Bacardi Is Pioneering Corporate Responsibility in the Spirits Industry

By Amanda Gabriele
Jun 7, 2019 10:30 AM ET

Bacardi has been an industry leader when it comes to corporate responsibility, and all employees are urged to live the motto “always do the right thing” day in and day out. Because May and June are Bacardi’s official Corporate Responsibility Months, we chatted with Rick Wilson, the global head of Corporate Responsibility, to learn more about the company’s sustainability initiatives, volunteer opportunities, and community outreach plans that are always in the works for the international spirits company.

Bacardi has a long tradition of always doing the right thing. What does this call to action mean to you personally?

As a family-owned business for more than 157 years, doing the right thing goes back to our roots. The Bacardi family has always been guided by doing the right thing for our people, our partners, and our communities. To me, doing the right thing applies across all our activities at the company. Two anchors of focus are protecting, as much as possible, the natural resources we use to create our brands and providing support to our communities, particularly in times of dire need. For example, after the devastating hurricanes Maria and Irma, the Bacardi company and family pledged $3 million to relief efforts—but the support didn’t stop with the money. It extended to opening our facility in Puerto Rico to the community so that they could access free water and meals. It meant pairing up displaced employees with others who opened their doors and putting together and transporting caravans of disaster relief supplies into the rural parts of the island that needed emergency help. Our partnership with Mercy Corps to support recovery efforts continues today as we work together to drive tourism back to the island and redevelop small businesses.

Bacardi is also big into volunteer work and encourages its employees to get involved in the community. What are some of the volunteer opportunities you offered through the company this past month?

Bacardi offers many opportunities to give back to our communities. The months of May and June are annual Corporate Responsibility Months, where offices worldwide sign up to volunteer at local organizations set on making the community a better place. This year, at our global headquarters in Bermuda, a team raced in the Relay for Life, while in Jacksonville, many of our employees spent a day gardening to refresh a certified wildlife habitat. In Hamburg, we partnered with BUND Friends of the Earth to restore a garden used for environmental education. In Coral Gables, another beach clean takes place next week, along with resume-writing workshops with Dress for Success, an organization that helps empower women and men to achieve economic independence. We have a blood drive coming up with the American Red Cross, and more.

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