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The Whole World is Celebrating Sustainability! Why is There No Booze at this Party? by Krista Delisle

Posted by: | April 29, 2014 Comments Off on The Whole World is Celebrating Sustainability! Why is There No Booze at this Party? by Krista Delisle |

As the old adage goes, when the economy is down, drinking goes up.  Alcohol sales tend to increase steadily in times of recession.  It is fitting, then to question if companies that produce and/or sell alcohol are participating in the social and environmental responsibility that we are exploring in this class. It appears that alcohol manufacturers do not put as much focus on environmental or social responsibility as compared to other products we have explored in this seminar.  But why?  I propose that business owners are not yet demanding responsibility from manufacturers, and until they do, there is no incentive to develop more responsible practices.

After our trip to Bamboo Sushi, it seems that alcohol might just not be on business owners radar when it comes to responsible purchasing.  Kristofer Lofgren explained all of the sustainable components of the business, from the types of fish purchased, to special freezers to keep the fish fresh, special energy efficient lighting, and repurposed bar tops.  However, when I asked him if his liquor was purchased with the same environmental and social responsibility in mind, he said no, that it wasn’t feasible.  He reasoned that if a customer wanted Grey Goose, they weren’t going to care that it wasn’t as responsible as another brand.

So, should a business owner wish to stock his bar with liquors that he can feel good about, what does he need to know?  First, that almost all brands are owned by a handful of organizations.  For example, Pernod Ricard owns 29 brands of liquor and 11 brands of wine and champagne. (http://www.pernod-ricard-usa.com/BrandsLanding.aspx).  This would be helpful in deciding what brands to stock, i.e. choosing all Ricard products if that organization’s practices were up to your standards.  Second, that while most brand’s websites tout social responsibility, they are talking about promoting responsible drinking and preventing underage drinking.  (http://www.greygoose.com/en/global-content/social-responsibility) While those are undeniably important aspects of the business, they won’t be helpful here.  Last, business owners should educate themselves on the specific brand’s standards, if there are any questionable practices/motivations, and what monitoring, if any, is in place. 

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