Member Spotlight: Juan José Ramos

February 22, 2024 | BIER

Name: Juan José Ramos  |  EHS and Sustainability Manager

Company: Casa Sauza / Beam Suntory

Welcome to our series aimed at spotlighting BIER projects.  As part of our Member and Stakeholder spotlight series featuring the individual leaders within BIER member companies and stakeholder organizations, our project spotlight series highlights BIER member companies and stakeholder organizations involved in the innovative Charco Bendito project.

Learn how these practitioners and their companies have collaborated to develop and implement this innovative, first-of-its-kind, basin-level watershed initiative addressing three main goals: water accessibility, quality, and availability. Gain insights into key learnings and what inspires each of them to advance environmental sustainability in the beverage sector and collectively, overall.

Briefly describe your role and responsibilities and how long you have worked with your company.

I am Juan José Ramos Hernández, EHS and Sustainability Manager at Tequila Sauza. I lead our operation’s environment, health and safety strategy to ensure the health and safety of our employees and the protection of the environment, in support of our company’s long-term sustainability commitments. I have been working at Tequila Sauza for 16 years.

I’m proud to represent Tequila Sauza as part of the Charco Bendito project and to be able to collaborate with the Knowledge Management Committee.

What were the initial drivers or incentives that committed you to the Charco Bendito project?

Water is a precious resource that we must use responsibly for the benefit of future generations. Beam Suntory is firmly committed to this cause and has set ambitious sustainability goals to help us achieve it. This includes replenishing more water in our high-risk watersheds than we use in our direct operations by 2040. This will ensure that our own operations, the communities where our distilleries are located, and local farmers and growers have access to high-quality water for the long term.

One of our primary focus areas is working on nature-based solutions that ensure the sustainability of water resources in our high-risk watersheds. We identified that our manufacturing site in Mexico is located in a high-risk watershed, meaning we must be mindful and work to solve for the long-term quantity and quality water needs of our Casa Sauza distillery, which boasts one of the lowest water consumption rates in the tequila industry.

To address this issue, Tequila Sauza is proud to be a part of this collaborative effort with BIER and other manufacturing companies to restore and protect the watershed of the Lerma-Santiago River Basin.

How has the company’s involvement in Charco Bendito evolved over the course of the project, and what do you hope can be achieved in the future?

Tequila Sauza teamed up with BIER in 2019 and has since been certified for being an allied company of the Charco Bendito Project in the restoration of the Cajititlán micro-watershed, providing 15,652 cubic meters of replenishment within the watershed in 2022, with 125 hectares of land restored since 2020. Key activities have included planting native vegetation to increase groundwater levels and reduce soil loss, improving water infrastructure, and increasing awareness about the importance of water to healthy communities.

With our focus now on restoring and protecting the watershed of the Lerma-Santiago River Basin, we also seek to provide potable water to over 300 local citizens who previously lacked access to water. Our hope is that this initiative will have a positive impact on the region’s water resources and serve as a model for other regions of Mexico and around the world.

How has your participation in the Charco Bendito project aligned with your company’s sustainability and ESG goals and commitments?

As part of Beam Suntory’s Proof Positive sustainability strategy, we have set ambitious sustainability goals, aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and uphold our company’s values of Growing for Good and Giving Back to Society.

Our Proof Positive goals are focused across three pillars: Nature Positive, Consumer Positive and Community Positive.

Under our Nature Positive pillar, we’re committed to giving back to nature more than we use. We’re on a journey to have a positive societal and environmental impact, reducing our water, climate, forest & field, and packaging footprints, while working to protect and regenerate our ecosystems and their biodiversity.

We have made long-term commitments with our Nature+ pillar, including goals aimed at reducing our water footprint:

  • Reduce our water usage rate by 50% per unit produced by 2030
  • Replenish more water than we use in our direct operations in high-risk watersheds by 2040
  • Protect and improve watershed sustainability through Natural Water Sanctuary initiatives by 2040

Aligned with our goal to replenish more water in our high-risk watersheds than we use in our direct operations by 2040, our participation in the Charco Bendito project will help ensure that our own operations and the communities where our Tequila Sauza distillery is located will have access to high-quality water for the long term.

Our Tequila Sauza team has a sustainability roadmap in place with clear actions aimed at replenishing the water consumed at our operations. We are proud of our progress and remain committed to continuing our efforts in the coming years.

Name one of the practical solutions or best practices you learned in working on the Charco Bendito project and why it was important to you and/ or your company.

One thing I’ve learned in working on the Charco Bendito project is that collaboration is key. We must work collectively and partner with others across our industry in order to create solutions that support the betterment of our communities, our industry and society. I believe that the continued investment from BIER’s member companies is a testament to our industry’s commitment to protecting and regenerating nature and biodiversity that makes all our brands possible.

What important takeaway or key learning will you take from your involvement with this project and apply to other projects?

At Tequila Sauza, we have previously produced similar initiatives. I believe I can use my experience with Charco Bendito to apply the collaborative approach within our existing projects, identifying and partnering with industry peers and other stakeholders to develop solutions within our local operations. Leveraging insights and best practices from this project can support our water and sustainability goals, while also learning from other environmental players.

What are the key elements that make this project so successful, and how would you apply those elements to other similar projects?

The collaboration between different companies and sectors has significantly contributed to the success of this project. By working collectively, bringing together beverage and food companies, technical consultants and contractors, and local community members, we have been able to bring new ideas and solutions to the table to address shared water challenges. This type of multi-stakeholder collaboration can be used to help advance other environmental and sustainability initiatives.

Charco Bendito, also known as “Blessed Pool,” was a dream turned into a multi-industry and multi-year first-of-its-kind watershed collaboration. In keeping with the spirit of this project, if you had an eco-superpower that could be used to radically accelerate and scale best practices learned from this project, which one would it be, and how would you use it?

My superpower would be the ability to influence people’s consciences to help them realize the mutual benefits of protecting the planet we share and encourage them to act within their circles and communities.

Additional comments

Thank you to all members of the Charco Bendito project who have made this initiative possible, and for their continued commitment to share and cascade our efforts within their organizations.

I’m also proud of the work we’ve done in partnership with Red Bioterra and Bardo Comunicación, organizations that were critical to the Charco Bendito project’s success from both a technical and communication perspective.

Thank you, BIER, for your continued partnership, support and passion in driving this important work – and being part of our journey to contributing to a more sustainable, equitable future.

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector.
By BIER [crp]

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector. Formed in 2006, BIER is a common voice across the beverage sector, speaking to influence global standards on environmental sustainability aspects most relevant to the sector, affect change both up and down the supply chain and share best practices that raise the bar for environmental performance of the industry. By doing so, BIER is able to monitor data and trends, engage with key stakeholders, develop best practices, and guide a course of action for the future.

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