Companies across all sectors have been making changes to their business models in recent years to be more eco-friendly. Beverage alcohol wholesalers in particular have become more aware of the need to embrace more sustainable business practices.
Last year, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) conducted an internal membership survey with a two-fold purpose: first, to gauge the current state of sustainable practices within the wholesaler tier and the broader industry, and second, to highlight the already significant achievements made in embracing eco-friendly initiatives among members.
Organizations Investing in Sustainable Solutions
The survey yielded striking results: first, it revealed that sustainability has emerged as a priority for most surveyed organizations, with over 80% of respondents emphasizing the importance of the industry adopting more sustainable practices. Additionally, more than 65% of those surveyed had already installed electric vehicle chargers at their facilities, showcasing a firm commitment to eco-conscious transportation solutions.
Further, a substantial majority had invested in energy-efficient and solar lighting systems, showcasing a dedication to reducing energy consumption and underscoring wholesalers’ increasing commitment to sustainability.
“Sustainability ensures the wellbeing and preservation of our planet for future generations. So everyone needs to start adapting these practices today so that we can minimize our footprint in the long run,” says Kay Yoder, Vice President, Environmental Health and Safety for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. “My philosophy is that nature isn’t a place to visit — it’s our home and we all have a responsibility to do the right thing.”
Guiding the Sustainability Industry Forward
As a beverage distributor, Southern Glazer’s strives to set standards and lead the industry forward on sustainability initiatives. They’ve installed LED lighting with smart controls across more than 11 million square feet of warehouse space, have partnered with best-in-class recycling companies to recycle electronic waste, aluminum and everything coming from their facilities, are transitioning to low flow toilets and faucets to reduce energy and water usage in their newer buildings, and are investing in electric vehicles to lower carbon emissions.
“Another thing is that Southern Glazer’s has over 42 green teams in our various markets. By establishing green teams, we’re empowering our family members to educate and inspire each other to initiate and or volunteer in some local community events, like planting shade trees near parks, planting community vegetable gardens or carpooling programs to and from work,” explains Yoder. “Every year since 2021, our volunteers have hundreds of green team events around the country. It just became part of our DNA and family values and is something that I’m really proud of.”