Bacardi - Internal Communications Campaign

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Company: Bacardi Limited
Entry Submitted By: Bacardi-Martini, Inc.
Company Description: Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, produces and markets internationally recognized spirits and wines including BACARDI®, GREY GOOSE®, DEWAR'S®, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE®, MARTINI® and more. Founded 153 years ago, family-owned Bacardi employs nearly 6,000 people, manufactures its brands at 29 facilities and sells in more than 160 countries.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign/Program of the Year - Internal Communications

Nomination Title: Bacardi Employees Join No Straws Pledge

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. TEXT REDACTED FOR PUBLICATION

Water conservation is a major focus of Bacardi sustainability initiatives. After bolstering its sustainability efforts with the creation of the Good Spirited program in 2014, the privately held company implemented innovative strategies at production facilities to reduce water, improve global packaging and responsible sourcing, with several on target to be achieved by the end of 2017—some even ahead of schedule.

A critical element of the Good Spirited initiative is to increase employee awareness and inspire changes in behaviors that impact the natural resources critical to the production of our more than 200 brands and labels including Bacardí rum, Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin and Dewar’s Scotch whisky. In 2016, the attention turned to one of the top 10 most common debris retrieved from the ocean: straws and stirrers. Although many plastic straws and stirrers are not biodegradable, they are still widely used in the food and beverage industry. According to The Last Plastic Straw, the more than 175 billion straws enter the world’s landfills and oceans each year and researchers estimate that by 2050, there may be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

Water is critical to our brands as it takes 10 liters of water to produce one bottle of a premium spirit. On World Water Day on March 22, 2016, Global Corporate Communications launched an internal pledge, asking the Company’s approximately 5,700 employees worldwide to join the fight to curb plastic waste polluting our oceans. The call to action was simple: adding “no straws, please” to cocktail orders and commit to removing plastic straws and stirrers from all in-house, corporate events.

The immediate goal was to have all brand homes, visitor centers and major offices eliminate plastic straws at in-house events. A successful campaign would set the foundation to begin influencing external events and business partners.

A global, internal email announced the pledge. Assets including videos, logos, and bar signage were provided to help communicate the change. No Straws became a highly visible and actionable Good Spirited employee engagement program.

Employee contests encouraged sharing personal commitments to no straws. Employees were asked to engage with bartenders and post photos with them to help spread the word. Contest winners received sunglasses made from recycled oak rum barrels from the BACARDÍ rum facility in Puerto Rico. Contests were among the most popular intranet posts in the first half of the year. A Good Spirited screensaver issued globally on Earth Day featured No Straws messaging. For the second year in a row, holiday e-cards will include a no straws message.

Global news releases made the pledge public, making employees even more accountable for instilling the pledge. The results were overwhelming. Within two weeks of launching the pledge, all major offices, brand homes and visitor centers joined the ban of plastic straws / stirrers. The result: an estimated one million plastic straws / stirrers will be removed from corporate events each year. And the pledge has inspired new activities, from plastic bag recycling programs, to paperless invoices and ticketing at visitor centers, to removing all plastic bottles of water. .

“Plastic straws don’t biodegrade, and their use is ubiquitous across many industries including the spirits market. We are resolved to be part of the solution, and this includes reducing the amount of waste we produce,” says Ian McLaren, Director of Trade Advocacy for Bacardi, who shares the Bacardi No Straws Pledge at industry events, in training for bartenders and bar owners, and in cocktail competitions. The movement has expanded to external, industry events where Company brands host the top mixologists in the world – sharing our story and pledge to build a more sustainable future and inspiring them to do the same.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of this nominated PR program since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

•Estimated 1 MILLION plastic straws/stirrers eliminated annually.
•All major Company offices, brand homes and visitor centers committed to remove plastics straws/stirrers from in-house events. And several were inspired to incorporate additional green programs.
•Externally, 99% of No Straws articles mentioned “Good Spirited” or “Bacardi” in headline. The most-picked up key message was “Bacardi is committed to customers and consumers who want to be more sustainable.”
•Online engagement of content was 88% greater than 3BL Media sustainability platform benchmark and 90% of target media outlets covered the story.

•No Straws Pledge is influencing industry events as they removed plastic straws, including: Bacardí Global Legacy Cocktail Competition with 400 attendees representing 40 markets; 42 Below Cocktail Earth Cup with Australia and New Zealand mixologists focused on environmental practices; and Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender competition with finals in London. •Procurement added the No Straws Pledge to the Global Meeting & Events Policy.