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Absolut Vodka Touts Transparency with Naked Campaign

Absolut Vodka transparency environmental sustainability
Credit: Absolut on YouTube

Absolut is calling attention to its supply chain transparency and sustainability efforts in a video ad campaign released this week. With the tagline “the vodka with nothing to hide,” the Swedish company’s video about the local production process features completely naked — and strategically blurred out — employees and farmers.

“We only use wheat that comes from around Åhus, Sweden,” our nude guide Gunnar tells the camera. “And we know each farmer by name. Hey Lars!”

The company calls its production philosophy “one source,” meaning that every aspect of the production takes place in and around the small village of Åhus in Sweden, Absolut’s site says. “All ingredients for Absolut Vodka are sourced from within a 100-kilometer radius. Every drop of water and every seed of wheat comes from one water source, one village, and one community.”

Key aspects of Absolut’s approach:

  • Carbon dioxide neutral distillation, per the 2016 BIER Water and Energy Use Benchmarking Report
  • Hardy winter wheat from the area around Åhus in southern Sweden, where the fields are known for yields that are more than twice the global average
  • Water tapped from local wells more than 459 feet (140 meters) deep that has been filtered through the Swedish bedrock for thousands of years
  • The winter wheat is grown by local farmers around Skåne, Sweden, that are on a first-name basis with the company
  • Waste reduction efforts include feeding a byproduct of the raw spirit distillation process to 290,000 local pigs and cows
  • Absolut’s glass bottles contain more than 40% recycled clear glass

By 2020, the company is aiming to have zero waste-to-landfill. In addition, Absolut says it has the lowest energy consumption per unit among the world’s largest distilleries. Currently 40% of their local deliveries are made with renewable fuels, a figure the company wants to be 80% by 2020.

“We’ve built our own filling station for locally-produced biodiesel and we’ve switched from rape-seed to leftovers from slaughterhouses for the production of biodiesel to avoid appropriating raw materials that could be used for food,” the Absolut Company’s sustainability report says.

The cheeky new ad campaign comes on the heels of an announcement from Pernod Ricard, which owns Absolut, banning plastic straws and stirrers in all parts of its business. The company, which owns other spirit and wine brands such as Jameson, Chivas Regal, Kahlúa, and Jacob’s Creek, has aligned its environmental goals for 2020 with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Pernod Ricard isn’t alone. Bacardi previously announced it would stop using plastic stirrers and straws at corporate events. The brand also launched a circular economy initiative in 2016 to collect fruit waste from bars such as olives and lemons, and turn it into soap. In the project’s first year, it diverted 400 kilos.

Spirit makers are looking at alternative packaging as well. In 2017, Sobieski Vodka switched from glass bottles to a 1.75-liter plastic PET one made by Greiner Packaging. Besides being lighter and more efficient to ship than glass, the bottles use less energy to recycle.

The 3rd Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 15 – 17, 2018 in Denver. Learn more here.

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