BIER Member Spotlight: Jessica Merz
Name: Jessica Merz, Vice President, Global Corporate Communications
Welcome to our series aimed at spotlighting the individual leaders within BIER member companies and stakeholder organizations. Learn how these practitioners and their companies are addressing pressing challenges around water, energy, agriculture, climate change, and what inspires each of them to advance environmental sustainability in the beverage sector and collectively, overall.
Briefly describe your role and responsibilities and how long you have worked with your company.
I’ve been privileged to be part of family-owned Bacardi for more than 11 years and, during that time, have held a variety of communications roles. Today, as Vice President of Global Corporate Communications, I lead a team responsible for internal communications, external communications, social media, and our heritage collection, which encompasses archives protecting a 160-year-legacy. My aim is to share our unique story, showcase our culture and drive engagement with our people, our consumers and our partners.
Among the initiatives, I engage with is our Good Spirited Council, a cross-functional team of leaders responsible for contributing to our ESG agenda, which encompasses four focus areas:
- Good Footprint: take bold action to have a positive environmental impact
- Good Sources: respect people and planet through responsible sourcing partnerships
- Good Choices: market responsibly to inspire mindful drinking and reduce alcohol-related harm
- Good Futures: empower people in a fair & inclusive workplace and bolster our communities
How has the company's sustainability program evolved over the years, and what are your specific priorities for 2022?
Doing the right thing has been core to Bacardi since its foundation 160 years ago in Cuba as a single rum brand. Today, Bacardi is the largest privately held spirits company in the world with a portfolio of premium brands that includes BACARDÍ® rum, GREY GOOSE® vodka, PATRÓN® tequila, DEWAR’S® Blended Scotch whisky, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, and MARTINI® vermouth and sparkling wines.
While our business has grown, who we are and what we stand for remains the same after seven generations and that includes operating sustainably.
We first began tracking our global impact on the environment back in 2006. Within 10 years we cut our GHG emissions and our water consumption in half. We continue to focus on the areas where we believe we can make the most impact, and now our targets are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This includes reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, sourcing ingredients that are certified sustainable, increasing our use of recycled content, and ensuring our packaging is 100% recyclable.
We are focused on reducing our carbon footprint by optimizing distillery processes and using renewable energy wherever possible – for example at our distilleries in Scotland. Where it is not yet possible, we are adopting cleaner and more efficient energy solutions. At our BACARDÍ rum distillery in Puerto Rico we are cutting our GHG emissions in half by replacing fuel oil with a CHP (Combined Heat and Power) system.
And this year we took a major step towards achieving our 2025 goal of sourcing 100% of our key ingredients from sustainably certified suppliers with BOMBAY SAPPHIRE achieving this recognition for all of its 10 botanical suppliers – a first for an international gin.
These are just some of the priority areas for this fiscal year as we continue to push the boundaries and identify more ways to become greener while maintaining the same quality that consumers expect from our premium products.