Beam Suntory: ‘Macro- and micro-level strides’ powering Proof Positive agenda

By Luke Barras-hill |

Last month, Beam Suntory was unveiled as Platinum Partner for the pioneering Travel Retail Sustainability Week (19-22 April).

Further to the announcement, TRBusiness caught up with Manuel González, Marketing Director Global Travel Retail, to discuss the progress being made towards Beam Suntory’s US$1 billion-plus ‘Proof Positive’ sustainability strategy.

He also explains why the global spirits giant’s support of the only digital event dedicated solely to sustainability in the DF&TR industry – this year with a broadened theme encompassing healthy & wellbeing and diversity & inclusion that moves the agenda beyond environmental aspects – made perfect sense.

Registration is now open for the second edition of Travel Retail Sustainability Week, which will once again feature a powerful list of speakers.

With 40 days remaining (correct 10 March) before the programme begins in earnest, the programme continues to attract a flood of support from companies across travel retail and the wider travel ecosystem.Register now white and purple button

As reported, Travel Retail Sustainability Week has already received backing from Mars as Headline Sponsor, with JTI, L’Occitane en Provence, Moroccanoil, Nestlé and Ritter Sport all signed up as Premium Partners (see footer).

At the same time, Travel Retail Sustainability Week continues to gain new impetus as a platform that reflects the increasing investments being made across all sectors in corporate ESG.

In response to this, the Sustainability Pitch programme will offer stakeholders the chance to promote sustainable services and solutions to a panel of ‘Sustainability Guardians’ in the search of the prestigious ‘Sustainability Hero’ or ‘Sustainability Traiblazer’ statuses [for more information on the judges, click here].


Can you tell us how Beam Suntory GTR is committing to making sustainability a real focus in 2022?

Twenty twenty-two will be the second year of our decade-long Proof Positive sustainability initiative, through which we’ve pledged to invest $1 billion to actively contribute to a more sustainable, equitable future. It’s through this long-term plan that delivers year after year that we’ll achieve a significant impact.

From employee impact groups driving change to our leadership team being accountable for their own individual sustainability goals, we are doing everything we can on both a micro- and macro- level to turn these goals into a reality.

Tell us how your Platinum Partnership of Travel Retail Sustainability Week helps Beam Suntory to further its sustainability goals?

At Beam Suntory, we invest our time, resources and energy striving to be good stewards of the environment and society at large – we call it Growing For Good – and this is part of our DNA. The bigger we are and the more collaborative, the greater our impact can be and so it’s vital that we continue to create an open dialogue, engage, and learn from one another.

Beam Suntory is funnelling more than US$1 billion into making positive impacts on the environment, consumers, and communities. Source: Beam Suntory.

The inaugural edition of Travel Retail Sustainability Week represented just that opportunity as we learned from each other about the incredible progress and innovation within this sustainability space. We’re looking forward to another inspiring and productive week.

Tell us more about the progress being made through the ‘Proof Positive’ sustainability strategy you mention, including the plan to turn to 100% recyclable packaging and 40% recycled materials by 2030?

Suntory lives by a key value inherited from our founder: ‘Yatte Minahare’. It encapsulates the spirit of ambition to dream big, take challenges, and never give up. With that in mind, not only are we on track to use 100% recyclable packaging and 40% recycled materials by 2030, but we’ve since built on that goal to achieve 60% recycled materials by 2040.

A feasibility study undertaken by Supercritical and concerning the ‘green hydrogen’ project at the Ardmore distillery in Scotland completed in 2021. The distillery is aiming to become zero carbon, reliant only on its local natural resources, by 2040. Source: Beam Suntory.

Beam Suntory’s Proof Positive initiative is centred on three key pillars: Nature, Consumer and Community. We invest our time, resources, and energy in these areas not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because these are our values as a company.

Since launching Proof Positive, we’re proud to say that both Sipsmith and Maker’s Mark distilleries have achieved B Corp certification. B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors including employee benefits, charitable giving and supply chain practices.

We’ve also seen all our global manufacturing sites purchasing renewable electricity and we’re on track for 100% renewable electricity usage across operations by the end of 2022.

The Fred Booker Noe Distillery opened in 2021 in Clermont, KY powered by an electric boiler using renewable electricity.

Excitingly, we also have completed a feasibility study on our ‘green hydrogen’ project at the Ardmore distillery in Scotland and this important project continues as we aim to make it a zero-carbon distillery, reliant only on its local natural resources, by 2040.

Finally, talk to us about the importance of your wider partnership with TRBusiness across the events and content portfolio this year?

We truly value our partnership with TR Business because its values align so neatly with ours as it works hard to harness the power of the positive impact we as an industry can make together.

Beam Suntory GTR executed a high-visibility campaign with legacy brands Aston Martin and Bowmore at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 through December and January. For a detailed report and video interview with Andrea Riera, Customer Marketing Manager – Global Travel Retail, Beam Suntory, see the TRBusiness December e-zine.

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