Our Strategy

Putting Our Values into Action

We are dedicated to promoting responsible consumption of alcohol, providing a safe, inclusive, and engaging workplace, protecting the environment, and making a positive contribution to our communities. We proactively engage with our stakeholders, including:

Our priority stakeholders

Consumers

Non-profits and Community organizations

employees

THE BROWN FAMILY SHAREHOLDERS

Issue experts and thought leaders

Investors

customers

Suppliers

Government and regulators

Our Priorities

We focus our resources where we can make the most difference for our company, society, and the environment.

To have the most impact, we focus on what we do well by prioritizing the corporate responsibility issues that are closest to our business and, conducting periodic assessments of our most material issues. When we look holistically across the landscape of social, environmental, and economic issues and evaluate where we should focus our resources, we have identified four major priorities:

  • Alcohol Responsibility — encouraging responsible drinking through moderate consumption of our products in a way that brings social enjoyment rather than harm
  • Environmental Sustainability — positively influencing regenerative management practices for water, energy, and other resources that we use to make our products
  • Our People — fostering talent, and valuing diversity, creativity, commitment, and expertise of our employees enables us to grow and endure
  • Community Relations — contributing our time, talent, and resources to the communities to which we belong so that they are better places to live and work

Our Partners

Responsibility is about doing more together than we can on our own. We seek relationships with our partners where ideas and resources are shared to inform and implement our corporate responsibility strategy. We partner with individuals and organizations because we believe this kind of deep collaboration leads to greater positive impact. A selection of our partner relationships is outlined below:

Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) is an independent U.S. non-profit funded by the distilled spirits industry that works to eliminate drunk driving, prevent underage drinking, and promote responsible alcohol consumption. For Responsibility.org’s 25th anniversary they launched Responsibility Starts With Me, a campaign whose goal is to spark a national conversation about alcohol responsibility. Our employees participated in the campaign, describing what being responsible means to them.

Portman Group

In the U.K., we influence responsible marketing practices as a board member of the Portman Group, an organization representing leading alcohol producers. The Portman Group promotes a strict Code of Practice to ensure alcohol is marketed responsibly and not in a way that might appeal to those under the legal drinking age.

The Ad Council

The Ad Council is a non-profit organization that produces, distributes, and promotes social issue campaigns that improve everyday lives, creating a measurable difference in society. Brown-Forman is part of a multi-partner team supporting the Ad Council’s Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving prevention campaign.

DrinkWise

In Australia, we are strong supporters of DrinkWise, a non-profit that promotes behavior change through informational and educational campaigns, including their campaigns aimed at parents as role models and influencers.

The Healing Place

The Healing Place in Louisville, Kentucky, reaches more than 600 men and women suffering from drug and alcohol addiction daily, providing the tools for recovery and restoring productive lives. Our support includes both financial contributions and our employees’ time and talent.

The Morton Center

The Morton Center in Louisville, Kentucky, restores the health of individuals and families struggling with alcoholism and other addictions by providing specialized counseling and educational services. The Morton Center partners with our Corporate Responsibility team, to offer educational programs to company employees addressing many facets of addiction.

Fundación de Investigaciones Sociales A.C. (Foundation of Social Research) (FISAC)

FISAC is a non-profit established in 1981 by leading producers of wine and spirits and mass media in Mexico. We partner with FISAC’s mission to contribute to a responsible drinking culture through health education and the promotion of balanced healthy living. FISAC focuses on drunk driving prevention, combating underage drinking, promoting responsible consumption in adults of legal drinking age, and respecting those who choose not to drink.

Responsible Retailing Forum

We partner with the Responsible Retailing Forum (RRForum) to assess and improve retailer performance on ID checking and training to prevent underage drinking. RRForum brings together stakeholders, including regulatory enforcement agencies, retailers, distributors, and producers to identify and implement best practices to prevent underage product sales. One such alliance occurred between the International Town & Gown Association and RRForum, who partnered to develop an Alcohol Responsibility Program promoting the responsible sale, service, and consumption of alcohol in member communities.

Responsible Hospitality Institute

We work with the Responsible Hospitality Institute in their mission to assist communities and create safe, vibrant, and economically prosperous places to socialize.

Designated Driver Services

We believe the most effective deterrent to drunk driving is awareness of the consequences to victims and the driver. In addition, it is important to provide access to practical alternatives for planning ahead and not driving drunk. We support several designated driver services around the world, including Lyft, Uber, Dryver (formerly BeMyDD), PointZero8, Drink and Drive Intelligently, and CityScoot, as well as local taxi companies.

Ceres

Ceres is a non-profit organization that mobilizes investor and business leadership to build a thriving, sustainable global economy. Since joining in 2011, Brown-Forman has partnered with Ceres to engage with independent stakeholders on important environmental sustainability issues.

The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Brown-Forman has partnered with the Kentucky Chapter of TNC since 1975, on projects ranging from stream restoration at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky, to promoting urban conservation at Brown-Forman’s headquarters in Louisville.

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) brings together the sector’s global leaders to collectively advance environmental sustainability by driving an agenda that helps accelerate reducing resource consumption and mitigating environmental impacts. Brown-Forman partners with BIER, providing technical knowledge, insights, and experience that help BIER to accelerate solution development, and enable the sector to speak with an allied voice and inform the development of global standards.

Active Heroes

Active Heroes is a non-profit in Louisville, Kentucky, whose mission is to reduce veteran suicide and assist military families. Active Heroes partners with one of Brown-Forman’s Employee Resource Groups, BRAVE, which supports, develops, and promotes the unique characteristics and needs of military veterans and their families.

Human Rights Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign (HRCF) improves the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people by working to increase understanding and encourage the adoption of LGBT-inclusive policies and practices. Brown-Forman began participating in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index in 2009, receiving a perfect score of 100 each year since 2010, and continues to support the organization’s mission.

Fund for the Arts

Fund for the Arts works to maximize the impact of the arts on economic development, education, and quality of life in Louisville, KY, our hometown. Our partnership provides valuable opportunities for our employees to serve on the organization’s Board of Directors, in its NeXt! Leadership program, and to volunteer for the annual workplace campaign.

Metro United Way

For over 30 years, we’ve been a proud partner of Metro United Way, a pillar of the Louisville community dedicated to improving education, financial stability, and health for those in need. Our employees serve as board leaders and committee members and lead internal campaigns to raise money for its programs.

Volunteers of America

Volunteers of America creates positive change in the lives of individuals and communities through a ministry of service that seeks to help our most vulnerable populations struggling with the disease of addiction. We have worked with Volunteers of America Mid-States for 18 years, helping end homelessness for families through our Louisville Family Housing Services.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

As we look to the future, we were inspired by the recent introduction of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 global goals designed to address a broad range of sustainable development issues from poverty and gender equality to climate change.

We reviewed our corporate responsibility strategy against the SDGs to understand where our work aligns with these goals. We have identified a smaller subset of goals, which we believe have the strongest connection to our work and are where we can have the most impact. These include SDG 3, 6, 7, and 15:

Artboard 1SDG 3: Good Health and Well Being

SDG 3, and in particular the sub targets, focused on preventing and treating substance abuse, align closely with one of our core priorities reflecting our dedication to promoting healthy and responsible alcohol consumption. We aim to have a positive impact through responsible marketing, partnerships with organizations leading these efforts like Responsibility.org, and our ongoing support for local and national addiction recovery groups.

Artboard 2SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Clean and readily available water is a vital ingredient of our products, so we have always had a strong interest in protecting water quality and availability. We continue to pursue our goals to reduce water use as an input and wastewater generated by 30% per unit of product by 2023 ( from a 2012 baseline). We focus our water stewardship efforts in watersheds we have assessed to be at-risk.

Artboard 3SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Our ongoing efforts to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency are strongly linked to SDG 7. Our current 2023 target to reduce absolute GHG emissions by 15% helps contribute to this goal. In addition, our progress in developing on-site renewable energy sources through solar and biogas are part of our small contribution to increasing clean energy.

Artboard 4SDG 15: Life on Land

Our sustainable agriculture and forestry programs are essential to protecting the land we and our suppliers, employees, and customers rely so heavily upon. Our work with state and local forestry associations to support sustainable white oak production, our sustainable wine-growing practices, and our recent efforts to begin incorporating sustainable agriculture practices into our supply chains, are integral to ensuring we do our part to support healthy ecosystems on land.

This selection of priority goals based on where we see our greatest potential impact is our first step in engaging with the SDGs. Throughout this report, the SDG icons identify where our work is aligning with the goals. Going forward, we will focus on how to maximize our positive impacts and contribute to the achievement of these global goals.