Sustainability credentials help Flor de Caña Rum win Norwegian tender

6th July 2022

Flor de Caña, a luxury rum produced by Bonsucro member, Ingenio San Antonio has won a tender put out by the Nordic alcohol monopoly, Vinmonopolet. As of 1 January 2022, the rum has been stocked on the shelves of all Vinmonopolet’s shops in Norway for a whole year.

The tender process

Rum is growing in popularity around the world. Reflecting this trend, the sale of rum products through Vinmonopolet has increased by 45% since 2019. To meet consumer demand, Vinmonopolet put out a tender for luxury barrel aged rum that also met key sustainability criteria. The specification required the rum to be made from Bonsucro certified molasses or carry the Fairtrade, or Fair for Life label on the bottle.

A selection of eligible rums was put to a blind taste test. A panel of five experts tasted each rum to decide which delivered best quality and per the requirements in the specification. Flor de Caña Rum won the tender on the merit of its availability for the market, price, quality and it being able to prove its commitment to sustainable and responsible production practices.

“Sustainability has been a core value of the brand since its early days back in 1890. Today, we’re proud to be leading the industry in this field by working with impactful partners like Bonsucro. We remain as committed as ever to continue producing one of the world’s finest rums while ensuring a greener future for generations to come,” said Mauricio Solórzano, Ambassador of Flor de Caña.

Whitney, an American food blogger living in Norway, was impressed with Flor de Caña Rum, especially as it’s Fair Trade and Carbon Neutral certified. She said in an Instagram post that she loves that Vinmonopolet “gives us options to collectively use our buying power in Norway to effect positive change in the liquor and spirits industry.”

Why sustainability matters

In 2015, Vinmonoplet received a research report by Fairfood International on the working conditions for workers in the sugarcane supply chain. The report stated that people in Central America can work up to ten hours a day, seven days a week with insufficient breaks. This is partly because workers are paid by the amount of cane they cut, rather than by the hour.

Cane cutting is very physically challenging and usually done under intense heat and humidity. A lack of rest and sufficient amounts of drinking water led to high rates of chronic and fatal kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu) which evidence suggests is caused by heat stress.

How is Vinmonopolet taking action?

To address the most salient risks related to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in the rum supply chain, Vinmonopolet signed a with the other Nordic Alcohol monopolies committing to collaborate on a broad approach to address the cause and the risks of human rights violations. This includes, but isn’t limited to increased focus on OHS, traceability requirements, and stakeholder engagement in the supply chain.

In addition, the team has been committed to addressing the most adverse risks by raising awareness of the challenges within the rum industry. Vinmonopolet employed La Isla Network in 2021 to share its research-based findings with sugarcane farmers and millers. Offering free information meetings, to all.

In May 2021, Bonsucro offered a training session in collaboration with Vinmonopolet and La Isa Network that explored the risks of working under intense heat, the importance of evaluating workload when planning interventions, how to ensure water, rest, shade protocols are sufficient, and best practice in sanitation.

Adding certification requirements to the tender process for rum products is an important addition to the work that Vinmonopolet and the other Nordic Alcohol Monopolies are doing to improve sustainability in rum supply chains and help draw consumers’ attention to the issues. This is the first tender for rum that mentions Bonsucro certification, but at Bonsucro, we hope that it won’t be the last. In time, we hope to see proven sustainability credentials marked as essential criteria in more rum supply chains across the world.