BALTIMORE, Nov. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Employees at Bacardi Bottling Corporation, part of the Bacardi group of companies, received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation and education at the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) Conservation Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 12. Bacardi once again demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship by achieving Wildlife at Work recertification. Bacardi Bottling Corp.'s Eric Hearn, Environmental Health Safety Coordinator, and Sally Cannon, processing/training coordinator and wildlife team leader, were presented the certification at the annual event.
"The companies we honor are environmental leaders at local, national and global levels, voluntarily managing lands to support sustainable ecosystems and the communities that surround them," said Margaret O'Gorman, WHC President. "Congratulations to Bacardi Bottling Corporation for its successful conservation project to create habitat and increase biodiversity."
Bacardi Bottling Corporation, located on 92 acres in Jacksonville, Fla., is the sole bottling plant for BACARDI® rum branded products enjoyed in the United States. The facility is surrounded by rural residential areas and includes on-site habitats such as wetlands, forest, and grasslands. The team at Bacardi Bottling Corporation actively manages 21 of the site's acres of wildlife habitat as part of a Wildlife at Work program that has been certified through the Wildlife Habitat Council since 2013.
The program to develop and preserve wildlife on campus is part of the Bacardi group of companies overall "Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future" corporate responsibility platform to protect native habitats, control invasive species, water conservation, and other preservation efforts.
For their first step in managing wildlife, the all-volunteer employee team at Bacardi began converting the site's grassy fields into native warm-season grasses and wildflowers. Five acres were initially seeded in 2012 with wildflowers, and later with native warm-season grasses in 2013. Phase II of the project began in late 2014 with an application of herbicide before native species were planted using a seed drill across 20 acres. Strictly native species were used in both areas, including blanket flower, black-eyed Susan, slender Indian grass, and big bluestem. Monitoring is conducted using photographs over time as well as 3x3 sample plots that are surveyed for species. The new grasslands are maintained through occasional mowing, and the team plans to plant both areas with native milkweed in 2015.
Most recently, the Bacardi team erected eight songbird nest boxes targeting the native eastern bluebird. In 2014, local Cub Scouts joined the team to construct the boxes. These nest boxes—which include names such as 'Home Tweet Home,' 'House of Blues,' and 'The ReTweet'—were named by employees via a competition. The team installed the nest boxes based on advice from a local bird expert and have since been visited by Florida Audubon Society members. The team monitors the boxes weekly during the nesting season and is excited about their first full nesting season.
"This program reinforces the Bacardi commitment to the responsible management of all business activities. We see this as not only an essential part of corporate responsibility but also an important area of collaboration with our customers and suppliers, as well as employees and opinion leaders," said Eduardo Vallado, Regional Director - Supply Chain and Manufacturing Americas for Bacardi. "Protecting the natural resources we use to create our brands is key for us. We aim to be best-in-class in the spirits industry and believe through responsibly managing our environmental and social impacts Bacardi will be a more sustainable business in the long-term. Our vision is to put back at least as much as we take out from the environment."
Bacardi Bottling Corporation was one of 273 programs recognized at the WHC Conservation Conference as meeting the strict requirements of Wildlife at Work certification. In addition, 59 programs received Corporate Lands for Learning certification. Certification requirements are strict and require that programs apply for periodic renewal. Wildlife at Work certification recognizes outstanding wildlife habitat management efforts at corporate sites and offers third-party validation of the benefits of such programs. Corporate Lands for Learning certification provides programs with third-party recognition for educational programs.
To learn more about Bacardi and its "Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future" environmental initiative for sourcing, packaging and operational efficiencies across the entire Bacardi family of premium spirits brands, visit http://www.bacardilimited.com/good-spirited.
About Wildlife Habitat Council
Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) promotes and certifies habitat conservation and management on corporate lands through partnerships and education. WHC's programs take corporate sustainability goals and objectives and translate them into tangible and measurable on-the-ground actions. Through a focus on building collaboration for conservation with corporate employees, other conservation organizations, government agencies and community members, WHC programs focus on healthy ecosystems and connected communities. WHC-assisted wildlife habitat and conservation education programs are found in 45 states, the District of Columbia and 13 countries. http://www.wildlifehc.org/
About Bacardi Bottling Corporation
Founded in 1972, Bacardi Bottling Corporation is a Center of Excellence for Bottling and the sole bottling plant for BACARDI® rum branded products enjoyed in the United States. The facility also provides BACARDI® rum for export to Mexico, Canada, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Germany, South Korea, Costa Rica, South America, Israel, New Zealand, Australia and Japan. The facility employs more than 200 people and is situated on a 92-acre campus.
Bacardi Bottling Corp. is part of Bacardi Limited, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited. www.BacardiLimited.com
SOURCE Bacardi Limited; Wildlife Habitat Council