The Cuba Ron S.A Corporation is increasingly committed to respecting the environment. The latest investments that the company has made (already cataloged by its great importance) are focused, extremely, to guarantee the minimum environmental impact near its production facilities.
Given the concern of the inhabitants of the town of Santa Cruz, a territory where one of the most important rum factories of the Corporation is located, people talk about a "definitive solution" to the environmental problems that have been generated there. It is a waste processing plant as a source of renewable energy, which is also part of the company's efforts to integrate into “the Life Task” of the Cuban Government.
Concerning the concrete actions that Cuba Ron is implementing to minimize the environmental damage caused by the manufacture of its products, our website spoke with Melba Ybáñez, the Corporation Quality Director.
What kind of strategies, principles, protocols or conceptions does Cuba Ron Corporation has, specifically Santa Cruz rum factory, to contribute to the preservation of the environment?
Achieving a balance among the environment, society and the economy is considered essential for the Cuba Ron Corporation - and especially the Santa Cruz Rum factory - with the objective of satisfying the needs of the present without endangering future generations. This has motivated the Santa Cruz rum factory to adopt a systematic approach to environmental management through the implementation of the environmental management system, which aims to contribute to sustainability, thus having a reference framework to protect the environment and respond to the changing environmental conditions in balance with the socioeconomic needs.
The implementation of the environmental management system allows, in the first place, to protect the environment through the prevention and mitigation of environmental impacts. Likewise, it is a guarantee in accomplishment with legal requirements and environmental discharge. On the other hand, it ensures the strengthening of the organization in the market and, therefore, financially, through the implementation of respectful environmental alternatives.
What is the Integrated Management System (IMS)? And, How does the Santa Cruz rum factory work?
The Santa Cruz rum factory began the implementation and certification of the Management Systems since 2002, first with the Safety and continued with the Quality. Today, it has implemented the Innovation and Environment Systems. For an organization to function effectively, it has to determine and manage numerous interrelated activities, where resources are managed in order to allow input elements to be transformed into results. This is called a process, so the IMS in Santa Cruz is managed by processes. The IMS provides the company with a degree of organization. It is preventive and allows to identify, and assess the level of risks of each process.
In the food industry, Cuban rum is the second exportable item, which gives the Corporation the double challenge of being more productive, but at the same time friendly to the environment. How does the Corporation get the balance between production and environmental sustainability?
Our Corporation is a responsible entity that works in its processes and in its industries for the constant improvement of the environment and compliance with policies. The development of Cuba Ron is not only noticeable in the field of economic exchanges and commercialization, but also in investments to improve production and acquire appropriate technologies to reduce and to avoid environmental pollution. This is achieved with a sustained work in the improvement of technologies distillation, aging, filtration, manufacturing and bottling of rums; in the use of renewable energies, investing in the treatment of residuals, water treatment plants; with the saving and rational use of water; and with the control of consumption indexes.
What are the main environmental problems generated by the rum factory in the Santa Cruz community? How has the Corporation worked to solve them?
It is true that the Santa Cruz rum factory is identified as one of the main polluting centers in Mayabeque. It pours around 2000 cubic meters a day into the coastal zone, which causes a problem of environmental contamination.
However, since 2012, the Corporation has carried out several control actions guided by tracing this problem. As a result, in 2013 an environmental license was granted for the construction of a new network for the disposal of the residuals of the complex (Santa Cruz rum factory, Las Lomas and Lefersa). It constituted the second stage of the investments planned for the solution of dumping by these three industries to their respective coastal zones, since the first stage was to build the internal network of the residuals. Following this, we worked on the construction of an underwater outlet up to a distance of 611 meters. The environmental license bestowal certifies that this action complies with the rules of dumping in coastal areas, while not exceeding the amount of 2000 cubic meters per day of waste soft drinks, yeast and distillery. The value of the investment amounts to 1 million 216 thousand 863 in total currency. In addition, a waste treatment plant will be set up to be used as a source of renewable energy, a solution that the Corporation defines as the "definitive solution to the issue of environmental pollution".
The Santa Cruz rum factory is currently in an important investment process. What does this investment process include? And, How much has been invested to carry it out?
The current investment process of the Santa Cruz rum factory is focused on the recovery of the liquor concentration zone, it automation and the alcohol rectification system. A degree of automation is being achieved that allows production with more efficiency, which decreases the environmental impact with a lower residual quantity and concentration. Twelve warehouses of aged hard liquor and eight warehouses of rum were recovered hitherto, for an amount of 4 million euros. The submarine outfall was also built for a value of 616264.80 euros
In addition, in the distillery the recovery has been technological and civil since the floors and metal stairs are replaced by Plastic Reinforced with Fiberglass (PRF), which allow to improve the sanitary conditions and a maintenance more prolonged in time.
What percentage of this investment process corresponds to installing or modernizing technologies that reduce the negative impact of rum factory on the environment?
In our opinion, 100% of investments contribute to reducing the impact on the environment.
How is the Cuba Ron Corporation integrated into the “Life Task” of the Cuban Government?
Every day the growing institutional concern for the confrontation to climate change is perceived with greater intensity. “The Life Task”, approved by the Council of Ministers on April 25, 2017 has made up 5 strategic actions and 11 tasks. It constitutes an integral proposal and has a scope and hierarchy superior to the documents established up to now and requires conceiving and executing a program of progressive investments, short (year 2020), medium (2030), long (2050) and very long term (2100) ).
The incorporation of the management by the confrontation to the climatic change in the productive processes and of services of the Corporation Cuba Ron SA has the purpose to prevent, reduce and eliminate the negative impacts that these processes cause, assuring the protection and preservation of the natural resources , on which the production of goods and services is based.
With the aim of adapting the tasks of the State Plan for the confrontation to climate change to the plans planned from the short to the very long term, two tasks were identified in which one must work and 4 actions linked to them.
Since 2017, work is being done to comply with the life task action plan. Based on the indications of MINAL, the Cuba Ron Corporation has directed its entities to elaborate its strategy in coordination with the CITMA delegations and the government of each territory, taking into account the effects they will have in the period 2050-2100, considering the investments of the region, and working to raise the risk perception of workers and their participation in confronting climate change. The strategy also has among its priorities the best use of available financial resources.
What have been the main achievements?
We have had several achievements that have contributed to our company not only being productive, but also respectful of the environment that surrounds it. We have a team of managers highly committed to the challenges of the Corporation, as well as a group of workers with a high sense of belonging, who are concerned about the existing problems and are concerned with solving them.
On the other hand, we are certified by ISO management systems and international standards and we work on the implementation of the energy management system. We have consolidated an innovative Cuban Rum Masters movement, which contributes to maintaining the standards of a production that is highly valued worldwide and that hold the Protected Denomination of Origin (P. D.O.) Cuba for rums.