Eliminating single use plastics is a movement that has prompted brands across the globe to join the effort. Not only do these initiatives help protect the environment, they also provide a marketing strategy to promote social responsibility to customers and prospects who have proven to show deep loyalty to such businesses.
Family owned Bacardi Limited, along with non-profit Lonely Whale, have joined forces to eliminate one billion single-use plastic straws by 2020. Images of turtles with straws stuck in their noses and a seahorse drifting on a straw as if it were a reed have helped put a spotlight on the need for great and immediate change.
The message will be passed on to consumers through a series of corporate and brand collaborations, events, and calls-to-action around the world. Bacardi will promote social conversation and action through the hashtag #TheFutureDoesntSuck.
In addition, Bacardi announced a commitment to review its global supply chain, with the aim of removing non-essential, non-recyclable single-use plastic waste.
“Single-use plastic items are among the most collected pieces of trash in our oceans, and we are urging our consumers to add ‘No plastic straw, please’ to every drink order so together we can make impactful change,” Rick Wilson, senior vice president of Corporate Responsibility for Bacardi, says.
Two years ago, Bacardi began the #NoStraws campaign. In 2017, Lonely Whale launched the Strawless Ocean initiative to remove 500 million plastic straws from the U.S. waste stream.
#TheFutureDoesntSuck formally kicks off in London, England, supported with a series of illustrations that communicate the devastating impact of single-use plastic straws on the world’s oceans, the companies said.
At Bacardi event, music activations plastic straws will not be used and the Bacardi Rum Truck will use only biodegradable paper cups across the UK activations. In addition proceeds of ticket sales from Bacardi’s Casa Bacardi music events, taking place throughout June and July in London, Manchester, and Birmingham, will be donated to the Lonely Whale’s Strawless Ocean initiative.
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This fall, activity continues in North America as the rum brand activates the movement at all its major music activations. In the U.S, it’s been reported that approximately 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded each day. Bacardi will continue to partner with national chains and independent accounts to promote plastic-free, marine-friendly straw, or strawless options for cocktails. Bacardi and Lonely Whale will expand the program in China and focus on programs with 10 leaders in the hospitality and spirits industry to drive adoption of the pledge.
“Our focus for the past two years has been leading the industry charge with our #NoStraws pledge and now is the time to review the larger issue of single-use plastic in the greater Bacardi world to determine how and where we can truly make a bigger difference and continue leading the charge to build a more sustainable future,” says John Burke, chief marketing officer for Bacardi globally.
Bacardi joins numerous other brands that have stated they are committed to eliminating single use plastics including Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels and many others. As each new major brand joins the effort, that puts pressure on others to do the same. Research has shown that consumers, Millennials in particular, will drop or bypass brands that don’t have sustainability efforts that improve their lives.
However, the question remains as to how these brands will measure the impact of their efforts.