Posts Tagged 'social responsibility'

Stephane drinks TRU Organic Spirits

Going in to college I wanted to be an entrepreneur. When I got there, environmental studies classes took over my education, and taught me about the ill effects of carbon emissions, using pesticides on our food, and other ways human activity negatively impacts our planet. These facts do not change the reality that people are still going to need things, or want things for that matter. That is where businesses comes in. However, goods and services can be provided in socially responsible ways.
That is what Stephane and the makers of TRU Organic Spirits had in mind when they set out to make Vodka. I met Pierre in Yellowstone National Park after I retrieved a ball from a tree for his daughter. Laura and I were looking for a campsite, so Stephane and his family graciously offered to share theirs. Sitting around a fire we discussed his business that he helped start. Before they went in to business, Stephane knew that providing a good takes certain resources, but it is possible to provide those resources in a way that has the least impact on the environment. TRU’s slogan is ‘a better vodka for a better planet.’ But how green is TRU?
TRU makes vodka and gin using organic lemons, wheat, vanilla beans, and juniper berries. Their bottles are lightweight (but strong), lightening the load when in transport, and their packaging is made of all recyclable materials that folds in on itself to eliminate packaging tape. Also, the boxes that they are shipped in are dual-use, meaning they convert into shelf displays for the product.
The major action that impressed me and makes the most difference, was that that for every bottle they sell they plant a tree. TRU works with Sustainable Harvest International, a nonprofit ecological restoration group that works with farmers in Central America to help them protect their forests through restoration training workshops, and plants trees. To date, TRU has planted 65,012 carbon trees that sequesters carbon dioxide, holds soil in place, and provides food and habitat for hundreds of organisms.
They are also a member of Slow Food USA, a network of food producers committed to sustainable agriculture. But how is TRU an agricultural product? A lot of land is used to grow grains to make liquor. In fact, it takes 23 square feet to grow the wheat for a 750ml bottle. Multiply that by 2.2 billion, the number of distilled spirits sold in 2008 in the US, and that is 1.1. million acres. An image from TRU’s website helps explain that to grow that much wheat conventionally takes 1.65 million lbs of pesticides, and 110 million lbs of fertilizers, and 179 million gallons of fresh water.
Our economic system, which is based on the trade of scarce resources and unlimited growth, is quite the joke. However, there are steps in the right direction, and responsible businesses like TRU are taking those steps. While they do their part, do yours by supporting businesses like this one, and others who work toward a sustainable future.

Sharing the road with the buffalo