Our ESG commitments align with UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), endorsed across industries and stakeholders worldwide. Each year, we also reaffirm our continued support for the United Nations Global Compact.
While the intent of the SDGs and Global Compact are large scale, much of our work happens more locally in communities where we operate. By doing our part, we can contribute to solving these broader, more complex challenges.
In 2019, we reviewed and expanded the list of SDGs that align with our goals. We identified a subset of goals, which we believe have the strongest connection to our four corporate responsibility focus areas, and are where we can have the most impact. This year we report highlights of our progress for fiscal 2020 against each of these goals, along with key partnerships. Please see our Partnerships section for a complete listing.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well Being
In order to align with SDG 3, we focus on cultivating positive impact through our Pause responsibility campaign, responsible marketing, partnerships with organizations like Responsibility.org, and our ongoing support for addiction recovery groups.
We have expanded our support of addiction recovery centers to include New Directions for Women in California and Phoenix House in the Northeast U.S.
In 2018, Chambord announced its partnership with Alteristic, a national organization dedicated to reducing power-based personal violence, to provide a series of bystander intervention training workshops for the bartending community.
Another way we align with SDG 3 is through our employee Live Well program where we promote overall physical and mental well-being. We strive to cover a wide range of topics such as exercise, nutrition, financial health, community involvement, mental health, and stress management through Live Well campaigns, awareness activities, events, and incentives. Employees across the globe can receive online wellness coaching, and are incentivized to participate in wellness programs through our Virgin Pulse wellness platform. In the past year, we have also added resources and information on coping with the stress of COVID-19 and its impact on employees’ well-being.
We recognize that sometimes promoting well-being means not drinking. Our SPIRIT Employee Resource Group is committed to ensuring all employees feel welcome as contributing members of the organization regardless of their own choice of whether to drink or not.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
We are committed to reducing the water use per unit of product we produce by 30% and reducing wastewater discharge per unit by 30% by 2023 from a 2012 baseline. Our progress against this and other goals can be found in our Annual Integrated Report.
We completed risk assessments to ensure the protection of our vital watersheds. To mitigate these risks, we are now working to implement plans that are focused on protecting the watersheds and improving our operational use of water.
At our Slane Distillery in Ireland, we continue to capture rainwater to use in operations to reduce the amount we draw from the Boyne River.
In Amatitán, Mexico, because water is a key ingredient in tequila, and a precious commodity, our Casa Herradura facility runs its own wastewater treatment plant, ensuring we release clean water.
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
We are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions within our owned operations by 15% by 2023, from a 2012 baseline.
The East Forks Wind Project located in Colby, Kansas, is now operational, and will offset more than 90% of our electricity usage in the U.S.
At our Brown-Forman Distillery we converted to cleaner-burning natural gas as our boiler fuel. We estimate a reduction of emissions by 13,000 tons of CO2 per year, and a reduction of our fuel delivery costs and carbon footprint.
At Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards in California, we received certification by the California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance for its owned vineyards. In fiscal 2017, it completed an on-site solar facility that produces an average of 150,000 kWh of energy each year. Sonoma-Cutrer also uses 100% of treated process wastewater for on-site vineyard irrigation.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
In total, our owned facilities currently divert 99.7% of waste from landfill.
We are collaborating with DendriFund on white oak and agricultural sustainability to improve regeneration of the trees our cooperages use to make our whiskey barrels and other needs for products such as furniture and flooring.
SDG 15: Life on Land
We are working with DendriFund to initiate and accelerate a collective effort to bring rye back to Kentucky as a commercial cover crop. This collaborative effort will help conserve farmland and improve soil health and water quality, while also providing a local rye supply for Brown-Forman, the Kentucky bourbon industry, and others such as bakers and brewers.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
In 2019, we began the next phase of our diversity and inclusion journey, by publishing our ten-year strategic plan, Many Spirits, One Brown-Forman, including six strategic imperatives to better focus our actions through 2030. The strategy is led by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, but its success relies on leaders and teams throughout the organization.
Our ambitions include having at least 40 percent female senior leaders globally and 25 percent people of color in the U.S. by 2030. We aim to achieve these ambitions with a mindful and continuous focus on recruiting, retaining, and developing diverse talent. Our goals will continue to expand over time to include other aspects of diversity.
Our Championship Program is designed to accelerate the leadership development of women through deliberate senior management level advocacy. The Championship Program expanded its global reach as we successfully launched this initiative in Europe.
Our Talent Advocacy Program (TAP) accelerates the leadership development of racially diverse talent and is supported through senior management advocacy. The effort to increase representation is further supported by development and recruiting partnership initiatives led by the BUILD (Blacks United in Leadership Development) and COPA (Creating our Own Path, Latino Employees) ERGs.
In fiscal 2020, we launched our newest ERG, EAST (Embracing Asian Society and Traditions). It celebrates and promotes Asian cultures, and contributes unique business insights on Asian markets.
Brown-Forman has participated in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, receiving a perfect score of 100 from 2011-2020.
SDG 5: Gender Equality
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
This year we updated our community relations vision to reflect a new ambition: “Leverage our company culture of giving back to deliver transformative community impact as a best-in-class philanthropic leader.”
In fiscal 2020, the Brown-Forman Foundation donated $3 million and our corporate charitable giving totaled $10 million. We contributed over 16,000 employee volunteer hours, with more than 130 employees serving on nonprofit boards of directors.
To honor Brown-Forman’s 150th Anniversary, the company donated $150,000 in scholarship funding for the 15,000 Degrees Initiative, an organization committed to increasing education attainment, prosperity, life-long learning, and an improved quality of life for African American students in Louisville, Kentucky.
For more than 30 years, Brown-Forman employees have partnered with Phyllis Wheatley Elementary School in West Louisville during the holidays by providing gifts for students. This year, for the first time, Brown-Forman was able to provide gifts for every student at the school. In addition, the Brown-Forman Foundation contributed $50,000 to support Blessings in a Backpack’s food program at Wheatley Elementary. This program provides food for students to take home every Friday of the school year, ensuring they have food for the weekend.
SDG 4: Quality Education
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown-Forman donated approximately $2 million to relief efforts in the U.S. and other locations where we work to support workers in our industry and supply nearly 70,000 meals to our local community.
The Brown-Forman Foundation supported 21st Century Park’s Outdoor Classroom S.E.E.D. Program, which subsidizes park programming costs to provide access to students of Title 1 Schools and groups that provide services to children of low-income households, who would otherwise be unable to participate.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities