Belonging at Bacardi: Fostering Racial Equity and Community Empowerment in Bermuda

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Bacardi, the world’s largest privately held international spirits company, is proudly celebrating Black History Month and reflecting on the impactful initiatives that aim to uplift its people and communities. Empowering individuals for future success is among the key pillars of the company’s Belonging program, which strives to create a space where everyone is treated fairly and provided equal opportunities. Through its Belonging program, Bacardi has become a beacon of change, championing diversity, and creating meaningful opportunities for marginalized groups.

In Bermuda, the journey towards fostering an inclusive community began with strategic partnerships and initiatives. Central to this journey is the transformative Bacardi Shake Your Future Program. Launched in collaboration with the Bermuda Government’s Department of Workforce Development in February 2023, this groundbreaking initiative underscores the company’s global commitment to social responsibility. Originally conceived in 2018, Shake Your Future has seen successful launches in Italy, France, India, South Africa, and other countries, playing a pivotal role in providing vital training and career opportunities in the hospitality sector to unemployed young adults.

The program’s expansion into Bermuda, is a testament to the long-term vision of fostering local talent and championing the next wave of hospitality leaders. The program not only equips participants with essential skills and knowledge but also emboldens them to embark on transformative career paths in the hospitality industry, shaping a brighter future for Bermuda. 

Furthermore, the Bacardi partnership with Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB) has been a game-changer. The hiring of CURB’s first Strategic & Policy Consultant is a leap forward in the collective mission to uproot racism and promote social justice in Bermuda. Through support from Bacardi, CURB has been able to redesign their approach with new programs that have increased their capacity, spheres of influence, and fundraising success.

Internally, Bacardi has been proactive in educating and engaging its staff on racial justice issues. Bacardi employees have participated in CURB’s corporate training, and many have completed advanced training in restorative practices, fostering healing and addressing these critical issues in Bermudian society.

Each year, the Black Vendors’ Market, hosted at the Global Headquarters of Bacardi, brings entrepreneurial spirit and creativity to the forefront, offering a vital platform for small black-owned businesses to connect with new audiences. This initiative not only amplifies their presence but also drives economic growth by connecting them with a larger customer base. 

These efforts in promoting racial justice and belonging have garnered significant recognition. In October 2023, Bacardi received the Dr. Eva Naomi Hodgson Racial Justice Award, a celebration of the Company’s dedication to racial equity and justice. This accolade stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment to foster an inclusive society where every individual feels valued and empowered.

As Bacardi continues its journey, the company remains dedicated to education, dialogue, and awareness in racial justice. This commitment is not just about one-off initiatives; it’s a sustained effort to drive change and foster a culture of belonging for all. Through its actions, Bacardi sets a benchmark for other businesses, showcasing how corporate responsibility can be seamlessly integrated with community upliftment and social equity. 

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