Suntory, the Japanese beverage and distillery company famous for its whiskey, American bourbons including Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, as well as Laphroaig scotch and many non-alcoholic drinks including Orangina, Boss canned coffee, and many bottled teas, is a sustainability leader. It has consistently ranked above average in the industry for environmental, social, and governance practices. Earth911 talks with Clarkson Hine, a senior executive with Beam Suntory and sustainability advisor to the Suntory Corporate Sustainability Division. He shares the deep history of social and environmental responsibility that has informed Suntory’s decisions since it was founded in 1899.
Using scientific approaches by Suntory’s Institute for Water Science, Suntory has created Water Sanctuaries in Japan and the United States, locations that preserve natural water sources, flora, and fauna in support of its goal to eventually preserve more water than it uses in its production processes. The company has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050 and will reduce within its business by 25% and within its supply chain by 20% before 2030. It will use 15% less water in the same timeframe.
Hine also discusses Suntory’s efforts to increase recycling of its plastic bottles in the short term while seeking to use only recycled plastic or bioplastic in plastic bottles by 2030. Suntory emphasizes partnership with customers and suppliers in its sustainability plan. In Japan, the recycling rate is higher than 84%, but American recovery rates must grow from 8% of plastic recycled today in order to support a circular economy in beverage packaging.
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