Member Spotlight: Suzette CartySeptember 12, 2018 | BIER
BIER Working Groups: Transparency & Disclosure
Which of your company’s sustainability initiatives/achievements are you most proud of?
I am proud of our wind power purchase agreement. A few months ago, we entered the agreement as part our greenhouse gas reduction strategy. I know wind power purchase agreements are pretty standard now, but I am really proud because it brought together a different set of stakeholders than we’ve typically worked with on a new concept to Brown-Forman, and this project will allow us to meet our greenhouse gas target. We have so many stakeholders, internally and externally, who are also proud of the project, and now that we have this positive energy we are prime to explore the next big opportunity. This project was led by Andy Battjes, who is also a BIER member.
In terms of sustainability, the other project I’m proud of is our evolving employee engagement efforts. At our corporate campus we recently formed our newest employee engagement group, the ELM group, whose mission is to Educate, Lead, and Motivate employees on sustainability. This past Earth Day, the group organized a sustainability fair with booths highlighting our company’s key environmental focus areas including energy, water, waste, and packaging, and hosted local partners demonstrating sustainable travel. The group is also supporting recycling efforts on our corporate campus, which is still a challenge for us. I’m excited to see what our team will achieve, as we are extremely passionate and committed. We have other active groups globally and we’re continuing to grow our level of engagement.
What is your favorite practical insight you have gained from being in BIER?
Context-based metrics matter. As the transparency and disclosure field is evolving, learning from BIER members that we have to find the right metrics to show the impacts we are making, in a context that is relevant to our business, has been my favorite practical insight.
How has being in BIER shaped your sustainability strategy/enriched your sustainability strategy?
Being in BIER has allowed us to have an industry-focused resource that is providing technical support and collaboration for the work that we do on sustainability.
When I think back to the early days of greenhouse gas inventory reporting, BIER produced a greenhouse gas protocol that included methodologies for measuring emissions specific to our industry that were not found anywhere else. This work helped us tremendously in our reporting.
The collaboration with colleagues, who are a further along on the journey, or even at the same stage as us, is very helpful. As an example: as part of our water strategy, we are now doing more water risk assessments in our at-risk watersheds, and we’ve received technical support from other BIER member companies.
What area(s) of BIER’s work and the Transparency & Disclosure Working Group initiatives are you most interested in? Why?
I am most interested in collaborating to find the right metrics for our industry to allow others to understand our industry’s environmental impact and collective progress.
What’s one cool thing people might not know about you or your company?
This summer we just opened a new distillery and visitor center in Louisville – the Old Forester Distillery. It’s in a restored building and it carries the name of our founding brand from 148 years ago—Old Forester. It is super cool!
Founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown, Brown-Forman Corporation has enriched the experience of life by responsibly building fine quality beverage alcohol brands. Brown-Forman employs more than 4,600 people worldwide with about 1,300 located in Louisville. Brown-Forman, one of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies and among the top 10 largest global spirits companies, to sells its brands in countries around the world and has offices in cities across the globe. In all, Brown-Forman has more than 25 brands in its portfolio of wines and spirits.
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.