As countries around the world, including Canada, consider the future of single-use plastics, Corby Spirit and Wine is getting ahead of the game. Along with its parent company Pernod Ricard, Corby is committed to be using only 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging within five years — and it is nearly there. More than 99 per cent of the primary containers used are recyclable.
"Sustainability is at the heart of what we are doing at Corby," says Kim Leis, Senior Manager of Logistics, Product Development and Innovation Commercialization at Corby. "We've reduced the use of single-use plastics for promotional items, and by next year that will be phased out. Almost all of our plastic bottles are recyclable, we have moved to using lighter weight glass where possible to further lower our carbon footprint."
The move to reduce the amount of plastics used and move to 100% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) material for areas where plastic is still needed is a key pillar in Corby's Sustainability and Responsibility strategy. Across North America, some 47 million bottles containing Corby or Pernod Ricard spirits are now made with PCR resin.
Corby has also changed up the tamper-proof shrink seal on its bottles to a recyclable PET on an estimated 240,000 bottles a year.
On the promotional side of the business, Corby has eliminated the use of plastic straws and promotional materials for Corby customers are printed on recycled paper or cardboard with vegetable-based ink. When it comes to cups used at events or for promotions, Corby is battling more of a habits problem, than a materials one. Every cup used by Corby is plastic (and made in Canada, which reduces carbon emissions during shipping), but is fully recyclable.
"People feel good about saying they are using compostable cups," says Carol McKenzie, Manager of Merchandising Services at Corby. "But compostable cups are not like food. You can't just toss them in with the eggshells. They cannot be treated like household food waste. They must be processed separately from both recycling and trash. Recyclable cups are still the best option as the plastic is re-used multiple times. The challenge is making sure our clients and patrons at events know there is a recycling process in place."
Corby, through Pernod Ricard, is also a signatory to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy with a commitment to improved packaging recyclability.
Improved packaging is a key part of Circular Making, one of four pillars in Corby/Pernod Ricard's Sustainability and Responsibility plan. Some achievements in this area include:
- Sourcing more production close to home to reduce the carbon footprint, such as sourcing Canadian company Rock Spirits for canning Lamb's Sociable ready-to-drink beverages in Canada.
- Absolut Vodka is a key partner in an initiative to create a paper bottle that is 100 per cent bio-based.
- Jameson Irish Whiskey bottles are made from 80 per cent recycled glass.
- Water reduction across the company's global operations has dropped 22 per cent in the past decade.
- Use of alternative energy sources is growing throughout the company, including a solar farm at an Australian winery and 100 per cent renewable energy use at French sites as well as all Chivas Brothers and Irish distilleries.