Eco-friendly distribution technology ecoSPIRITS introduced in AsiaBy Alice Liang
Closed-loop spirits distribution technology ecoSPIRITS has been launched across Asia, partnering with hotel chain Four Seasons to help the company end its use of single-use glass.
Founded in Singapore in 2018, ecoSPIRITS is an innovative closed-loop distribution technology that tries to eliminate packaging waste in the premium spirits supply chain.
Spirits distribution involves moving large quantities of spirits long distances around the world. Distribution company Proof & Company has long been concerned about the carbon footprint generated by this process, and as such, created the patent-pending and “world-first” technology.
ecoSPIRITS was developed to help contribute to a sustainable future by ending single-use glass in the spirits industry. With the majority of the product cost and carbon footprint of spirits bound up in the packaging and transport, this mission also provides a substantial business cost advantage.
The ecoSPIRITS system creates a closed-loop distribution system built by ecoTOTES – a fully-reusable, tamper-proof and shock-proof 4.5L reusable glass vessel that replaces the standard 6-bottle case of spirits – and ecoPLANT – small footprint, semi-automated facilities that process spirits by sanitising, refilling and sealing ecoTOTES.
After use, ecoTOTES are returned to a local ecoPLANT for refilling, creating a closed-loop that can service a large city and adjacent suburban areas.
The company says the conversation around ending single-use glass is only beginning. In 2020, the world will produce 40 billion single-use glass spirit bottles, generating 22 million tons of carbon emissions. This has an enormous environmental impact. Glass recycling has long been available but consumes 50% of the energy required to produce a new glass bottle. With each single-use glass spirit bottle eliminated, ecoSPIRITS saves at least 550 grams of carbon emissions.
Currently, a range of quality craft spirits are available through the ecoSPIRITS platform, including Plantation Rum, Tried & True Vodka, Widges Gin, Arquitecto Tequila and Mackintosh Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.
Over time, the platform will be opened up to additional spirit partners, with the next cohort joining in July 2020.
Spirit companies can enjoy numerous benefits from the technology including a competitive cost advantage, 90% reduction in packaging cost (including bottles, labels, stoppers, boxes and pallets) and labour, and an audited carbon footprint reduction for internal and external reporting. As a B2B technology, the ecoSPIRITS technology is invisible to consumers, allowing brands to retain control of the experience.
ecoSPIRITS is currently available in Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Mainland China, Malaysia, Thailand, the Maldives, Australia, and New Zealand. The company is actively seeking partnership with leading hotels, restaurants and bars in the region.
Among its existing partners, the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts has made a continent-wide commitment to ending single-use glass in all of its Asia Pacific properties through a partnership with ecoSPIRITS.
As part of this partnership, ecoSPIRITS will provide detailed carbon audit and waste savings, reporting to Four Seasons. In addition to this glass waste reduction, the ecoSPIRITS Forest Program – a program ecoSPIRITS initiated with carbon dioxide impact specialist Green Steps Group – will plant a tree in a reforestation tract of the Kalimantan rainforest area in Borneo, Indonesia for each cycle of an ecoTOTE through the ecoSPIRITS and Four Seasons closed loop. Several thousand trees are expected to be planted in the next 12 months on behalf of Four Seasons.
ecoSPIRITS CEO Paul Gabie commented: “Provenance is important for premium spirits, and for the well-travelled luxury hotel guest. Unfortunately, this translates into high carbon footprints.
“ecoSPIRITS addresses the problem of single-use glass, which makes up the majority of the carbon footprint of premium spirits. We are delighted to partner with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, who are demonstrating true sustainability leadership with this Asia-Pacific wide commitment. Together, we can eliminate a small portion of the 22 million tons of carbon emission that single use glass spirit bottles will generate in 2020.”