‘Marketing can be a powerful tool to inspire people’ – Bacardi CMO Mauricio Vergara on ‘Good Spirited’ environmental campaign

Bacardi North America’s chief marketing officer has expressed the brand’s desire to “return to the environment as least as much as we take away."

To date Bacardi has planted around 50,000 trees throughout the US as part of its ‘Good Spirited’ initiative which aims to help beautify local neighbourhoods. Speaking exclusively to The Drum, Mauricio Vergara said the drinks giant wants to set “a sustainability standard for others in the spirits industry to follow,” with the campaign.

The ambitious project has been ongoing for just over a year with help from Million Trees Miami and American Forests.

From the most recent planting event, in which Bacardi employees rolled up their sleeves to help seed 20 trees in South Florida, to every day changes such as responsible sourcing and streamlined packaging, the brand has charted a bold course so far in its quest to raise the bar on sustainability.

Vergara said he believes that marketing has a huge role to play in in educating and modelling the right behaviours that have a positive effect on society.

“A great example of this are brands that promote and inspire consumers to have an active lifestyle or recycle as a way to take care of the planet. At Bacardi, our goal is to return to the environment at least as much as we take away,” he commented.

The group has set specific goals to make its operations more environmentally friendly by 2022, building on current schemes which reduce water, energy consumption and emissions, an impressive effort by industry standards – but Vergara insisted that people have been the driving force behind the venture.

“Marketing can be a powerful tool to inspire people – be it to follow their dreams, pursue their passions, to take action. But marketing doesn’t change the world. People do.

“To truly make an impact, the world needs people that don’t settle for the status quo, that are prepared to push boundaries, take risks and go the extra mile,” he added.

To date, the family-owned spirits company has established ecological sugarcane farms in Fiji to protect the area's barrier reefs and reduced the weight of its packaging by seven per cent, but for Vergara the work doesn’t stop there. “We want to inspire our teams and our consumers every day to take action. And this doesn’t mean just getting people to buy our product,” he said.

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