Ethical Corporation's Management Spotlight: Stuart Lowthian & Dave Howson, Bacardi Limited

Ethical Corporation's Management Spotlight: Stuart Lowthian & Dave Howson, Bacardi Limited

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Monday, May 12, 2014 - 9:00am

By EC Newsdesk

Ahead of the Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Summit 2014, Bacardi Limited’s global technical director, Stuart Lowthian, and global sustainability director, Dave Howson share their views on the future of sustainability and management.

Stuart Lowthian is global technical director at Bacardi Limited. He has played an instrumental role in developing and implementing the company’s environmental management systems since joining the company in 2006. He has previously held technical roles at Allied Domecq, Campbell’s Soup and Unilever. 

Dave Howson has worked for Bacardi Limited for more than 15 years, initially as a procurement expert. In his current position as global sustainability director, he has overseen Bacardi Limited’s ‘Good Spirited’ sustainability strategy, which was unveiled in February this year on the Company’s 152nd anniversary. The strategy focuses on four key elements: sourcing, packaging, low impact operations and workforce engagement.

Ethical Corporation: Bacardi Limited launched a new-look sustainability strategy earlier in the year. What are the main drivers for the company’s sustainability commitment?

Stuart Lowthian: We absolutely believe that sustainability is a core part of our business strategy for the future. Issues such as water stewardship, responsible sourcing and so on are not only important from a business growth perspective, but it is the right thing to do as well.

We’re a brand-led business after all and we sell to consumers for whom sustainability is an important issue. Our large retail customers are exactly the same. A reputation for sustainability is key to attracting future talent as well. Potential new recruits go onto the internet and find out about us. Many of them want to be part of a business that puts sustainability at the heart of its operations.

Finally - and I say this with no apologies – becoming more sustainable saves us money. We estimate that our energy efficiency measures have generates cost reductions of $10 million per year. Decreasing our water consumption is also saving us a couple of million dollars. This is good business; it helps drive growth.

Ethical Corporation: What are some of the key focus areas of Bacardi’s sustainability efforts?

Stuart Lowthian: As a beverage company, we use a lot of water. Yet we live in an increasingly resource-constrained world. So high water use may not be acceptable in the future, particularly in some of the world’s more water-stressed areas. We know that we need to address water management issues right now. The same rationale applies to our greenhouse gas emissions, as it does to responsible sourcing. As the largest privately-owned spirits company in the world, we want to be in a leadership position.

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Stuart Lowthian and Dave Howson will speak at the prestigious Responsbile Business Summit (May 19-20, London) – the biggest European forum on corporate sustainability best practice. The summit brings together over 40 top CEOs and senior business leaders to share their best practice on how to leverage sustainability in driving efficiency and innovation in business. Sainsbury’s, SABMiller, Bupa, TJX, Carillion, Orange, British Land are among the other 250+ already confirmed attendees. For more information – download the Summit brochure here.