Our commitment to corporate responsibility is anchored in our culture and values, but we can better achieve our purpose of enriching life by leveraging the expertise and capabilities of others. Local partnerships make a difference in communities and can scale up to address social and environmental problems more widely.
We actively engage stakeholders – from employees and community members to governments and non-profit organizations – in our corporate responsibility efforts. The case studies below highlight our work in action and demonstrate how we are having a positive impact and enriching life for generations to come.
Old Fashioned Values for Old Growth Forests
So that we can endure forever, we aim to protect the health of the forests our products depend on. White oak, used to make the barrels that we age our tequila, whiskey, and bourbon in, is an integral resource for our business, and we know our stakeholders are thinking about it too.
In 2013 we embarked on a study to gain a deeper understanding of the sustainability of the U.S. white oak supply. Using data from the U.S. Forest Service, we evaluated the current white oak inventory, and developed a model to predict long-term availability through 2064.
We found that in the near term, white oak forests are growing faster than the demand for white oak for commercial use, indicating a strong availability of white oak. However, as we look beyond the next generation, there is more uncertainty due to natural causes such as pests, diseases, or changes in growth patterns due to climate change, potential growth of the hardwood industry, and other factors.
With this in mind, we have developed a white oak procurement policy that is helping us engage our log buyers, saw mills, and vendors to ensure protection of white oak resources. We seek to source white oak from suppliers that employ certified Master Loggers, incorporate forestry Best Management Practices, and engage with state forestry associations.
Making It the Best We Can Since 1866
Jack Daniel was known for his belief that “every day we make it, we’ll make it the best we can.” This tradition continues to guide the way that we make Jack Daniel’s whiskey. Resource conservation has been part of this tradition since 1866 and we have depended on the same natural spring water to make Jack Daniel’s for nearly 150 years.
The Jack Daniel Distillery is one of our first facilities to achieve our zero-waste goal, by identifying alternate uses for many of our waste streams, which are often a double win for our business through reduced waste management costs and new revenue streams. We sell grain and yeast by-products from the distilling process as cattle feed and used charcoal from mellowing vats are turned into BBQ briquettes for use in homeowners’ backyard grills. While our American white oak barrels can only be used once in our process, we sell used barrels to other distilleries that reuse them to mature their products.
For Earth Day 2015, we encouraged employees at Brown-Forman to celebrate our history of resource conservation by learning more about our zero-waste progress.